The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


OPINION | Reflections before graduation: The Communiqué kept me at Chatham

Riley Hurst-Brubaker

I joined the Communiqué staff in the fall of 2021 after enrolling in the Communiqué newsroom class with the hopes of declaring a communication major by the end of the term. It was my second year at Chatham University and my first year attending college without strict COVID-19 safety guidelines in place.

When I started classes in August, I was determined to make up for everything I felt I had missed out on during my first year of college. I wanted to expand my friend group and attend more on-campus events. I wanted to explore everything Chatham had to offer, but by midterms, I was beginning to question whether Chatham had anything more to offer me.

I had enrolled in two journalism courses that semester, and while I wanted to be good at the process, I felt completely overwhelmed and inept at it. I’ve always loved to write, but the idea of pitching ideas, coordinating interviews and writing on deadline made me want to run into the woods and live under a rock. Writing had always been something that I sought comfort in, and when I didn’t find comfort in it anymore I became very aware of just how lonely I felt at Chatham. At the time, I thought the only way to feel better was to move schools, so I began speaking to a transfer admissions counselor at Eastern Mennonite University and slowly prepared to transfer out at the end of the year.

The Communiqué staff was the first thing to plant doubt in my mind about whether leaving Chatham was the right decision for me. I had begun to get closer to several of the staff members who shared classes with me, and after a while, we began to hang out outside of class and pitch meetings.

I also realized that the journalistic process, which had felt like a labyrinth at the beginning of the semester, suddenly felt more easy to navigate. Things were more enjoyable than they had been before, and the feedback that I was receiving only made me want to improve even more.

Beyond my classes and the Communiqué, I was also getting to know more of my coworkers at Jennie King Mellon Library, most of whom I had never worked with due to the structure of our shifts during heightened COVID-19 restrictions. The community that I had not seen before was beginning to take shape in more parts of my life at Chatham.

Then, during the final pitch meeting of the fall 2021 semester, we began to discuss potential video content to work on in the future. There had been one, maybe two, videos posted to the Communiqué website before, and there was no official video section, but the ideas that were being generated and the excitement that everyone had about trying to bring video into the newsroom felt big. I didn’t want to walk away from it, so I decided to stay.

It has been two-and-a-half academic years since then, and I am so glad I stayed. I learned a lot while helping to develop the video section and writing news stories for the Communiqué, and most of that learning happened when I looked at my weekly schedule and thought “I don’t know if I’m qualified to do half the things I’ve been tasked with this week, but I can’t back out now.”

I’ve made incredible friends and been mentored by staff and faculty who I am continuously in awe of. I’ve learned a lot about the many moving parts of an educational institution, and I’ve learned how difficult it is to view a community that you care for so much with an objective eye (or at least as objective as humans are capable of).

It has been a wild ride being involved in the Communiqué over the past few years, and I am so grateful for the people who are working overtime to make the Communiqué an incredible learning experience.

To the staff and faculty who support us as students, thank you endlessly. To my fellow editors and staff members, I’m so proud of you. We’ve accomplished more over the past few years than I ever imagined was possible with a small student news outlet, and I can’t wait to see you soar even higher.

Finally, to the community that keeps our pages turning: thank you for the feedback, ideas, perspectives and time that you continue to share with us.

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About the Contributor
Riley Hurst-Brubaker
Riley Hurst-Brubaker, Media Editor, Video
Riley Hurst-Brubaker ‘24 has been a part of the Communiqué staff since 2021 and currently holds the position of Video Editor. Originally from central Pennsylvania, Riley came to Chatham University to experience life in Pittsburgh. She chose to pursue a degree in communications, following the journalism track, after taking the Communiqué newsroom class and attending several meetings. When she’s not creating content for the Communiqué, she enjoys spending time with friends, reading anything that’s not required for a class and drinking more caffeine than is recommended by friends and health professionals. 

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