A final note from a former editor


Alice Crow ‘23 distributes print issues of the Communiqué on April 1, 2021. Photo credit: Dorothy Crow

Alice Crow

Every year, Chatham University’s traditions fall away. From sledding being banned on Chapel Hill, to the slow erosion of Chapel Hour, Chatham’s identity is rapidly changing and sometimes it’s hard to understand the path this University is on. But despite all the changes we’ve seen in the last couple of years, the student newspaper has been a fundamental organization on this campus since 1985. It has defined my college experience at Chatham and shaped me into the person I am today. 

Almost everyone I’ve ever known on staff, including myself, stumbled into writing for the Communiqué and never looked back. Attending my first meeting was somewhat of a fluke; I was persuaded by a class acquaintance to come pitch the idea for a school radio station to the editor-in-chief at the time. I had no intention of picking up a story that day but somehow left with an assignment and the realization that there was a lot I didn’t know about Chatham.

After struggling my way through my first story, I was hooked. I had never sent a cold email before, conducted an interview or explored campus with a camera. Every mistake I made was deeply embarrassing, but also exhilarating. My early stories humbled me, but most of all, made me crave improvement. I wanted to be good, and I held on to that feeling tightly. My involvement with the Communiqué quickly snowballed during my first year at Chatham, and I became editor-in-chief during the first fully remote semester during COVID-19.

During my time as editor, I was pushed to grow in ways I hadn’t anticipated. At my worst, I was defensive, unpleasant and sweaty. However, hopefully at my best, I was understanding, insightful and created something that connected the Chatham community under a shared culture. I wanted to inform the community around me and spark discourse here. Most of all, my curiosity for what was going on in the minds of students, professors and administrators never wavered. 

Reflecting on that time, it feels like a string tied together a series of fated moments that eventually became the story of my undergraduate experience. A simple pitch idea would turn into a story that dozens of people would read. An unassuming invite from another staff member would turn into friendship. I learned that if you say ‘yes’ and ‘why not?’ more often, you can turn into a person you didn’t know you could be.  

When I stepped away from the position in 2022, I felt burned out by the whole experience, but I can’t say I regretted any of it. I said goodbye to a defining part of my college experience, slightly sad but proud. Now I am saying my second goodbye as I prepare to graduate from Chatham.

Having closely observed Chatham for the last four years, two as editor-in-chief of the Communiqué and two as a staff writer, I have a final piece of advice for other Chatham students: We can create the culture we want to see on this campus. Throw that party, go to that event, walk with your head held high and observe the world around you. Most of all, don’t underestimate the power of engaged peers.

Learning and growing at college obviously depends on the quality of our professors and this institution, but I argue that students can play a larger role. When we are uninspired and unengaged, the college experience is a million times harder. Be curious and use your voice. The definition of a Chatham student is still being molded and our new traditions are being shaped everyday. 

There will inevitably be moments we come to class having not read the chapter, sleep deprived or hungover. Sometimes we can’t find the energy to do it, but we must try. 

I was lucky to find a place at the Communiqué. It was a space where I was surrounded by people who had as many questions as I did. Being curious in a room with other student journalists has been the highlight of my undergraduate experience. I hope all students at Chatham can find a similar place. 

Thank you to the staff who made me want to show up every day. Thank you to our mentor and faculty advisor, Sara Bauknecht, for guiding us on this journey with unmatched compassion. And thank you to anyone in the Chatham community who answered one of my questions. Without all of you, I could have never written this part of my story.