The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Senior Reflections: Lifestyle in the Rearview

Charlotte Larson ’24

The very first story I wrote for the Communiqué was inspired by an assignment in a photography class I took in the fall during my first year at Chatham University. Now just a few weeks shy of graduating, I look back at that piece — a review of a photo exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Art that still touches me — and think fondly of writing it. I am endlessly thankful that it led me and my bright-eyed, first-year spirit to the Communiqué newsroom.

Back then, I thought I would be writing mainly about art and artists. I saw joining the Communiqué as a way to stay connected to my interest in the visual and literary arts. But in my second year, I suddenly felt called to write about food in college. I know, a sustainability major with a food systems concentration writing about food, shocking.

So, fueled by a figurative and physical hunger, I began writing “Beyond Ramen.” The series called for students to share their experiences with eating in college — the delicious, disappointing and everything in between.

“Beyond Ramen” joined a now-loud conversation around food insecurity on college campuses. With the help of student voices in Pittsburgh, Ohio and even Alabama, I covered the stress the current college dining paradigm can unfortunately bring to many students’ lives. 

Simultaneously, interviews with students sparked joy, camaraderie and celebration around food. I learned that one of my close friends from high school is now a talented home cook after vowing independence from the dining halls at his university. I enjoyed incredible breads-on-a-budget with my roommate. I got to peer into the lives and plates of students just like me, figuring out meals in the midst of college chaos. 

For the first time, I got the chance to publish stories around food — something I hope to continue doing long after I graduate.

The topics I explored through “Beyond Ramen” inspired my capstone project, which centers on reimaging college food systems toward a more sustainable, more fulfilling and, of course, tastier experience for students. Across the country, students are already asking more of their university dining systems. I hope that projects addressing food insecurity on campuses, such as Swipe Out Hunger, continue to get the policy momentum they deserve.

The stories I penned for the Communiqué as a novice journalist with minimal prior exposure to cutlines and AP style, sentences lacking Oxford commas led me to some of the most formative and memorable experiences in my college career. 

I have had the chance to develop professional skills in journalism and communications that I never considered before taking the step into the student newsroom. The Communiqué allowed me to combine my passions for writing, food and farming into professional and personal opportunities.

As a first-year student, I could have never imagined becoming the lifestyle editor and getting the chance to bring many voices from the Chatham community to the section. I give a sincere thanks to all of the writers who have trusted me to edit their work. It was a pleasure and an honor to assist your stories. 

To my fellow editorial staff members, thank you for consistently lending your knowledge and expert advice which far exceeds my skills. You are all witty and warm people in and outside of the newsroom.

Thank you to the Communiqué’s faculty advisor professor Sara Bauknecht for teaching me the ins and outs of journalistic writing and for your professional guidance. Somehow, despite the challenges of working as a writer, you made me laugh countless times in class and, of course, take copious notes that I will refer to forever.

And finally, thank you to every named and unnamed person whose work helped bring food to my plate these past four years.

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About the Contributor
Charlotte Larson, Lifestyle Editor
Charlotte Larson ‘24 is a Sustainability: Food Systems major minoring in Spanish. Coming from Chicago, she came to Chatham in search of fellow students who share her passions for farming, weird art, sustainability, and impactful conversations. Charlotte is a contributing writer for the Communiqué and loves to write about local art, campus life, and the things that make us human. Before coming to Chatham, she enjoyed writing literary analysis pieces and personal narratives surrounding the same topics. Charlotte was previously the editor of her high school’s art and literary magazine, Troubadour, and is now involved with the Minor Bird. She hopes to integrate her writing and language interests into a future career in sustainable agriculture. You can usually find her walking to pick up Noodlehead takeout, or at [email protected].

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