After six months away from campus, the academic year is once again underway in Evanston. This year, however, is far different from years prior and forces both students and administrators to address great obstacles. The most pressing of such obstacles being the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting change of course that keeps half of our student body at home.
The result of this decision means yet another quarter of online classes and a scattered Northwestern community. This division in our university is mirrored by the growing division in our society. With the upcoming election, the ongoing protests for racial justice and the spectre of the ongoing battle with the novel coronavirus, it is easy to feel isolated and angry.
These emotions creep into our personal lives, making it difficult to complete work for classes and keep in touch with loved ones. It is crucial that we allow ourselves room for self-expression and harbor the ability to articulate our feelings, opinions, ideas and stories.
I hope the Opinion Desk will continue to be a space for self-expression, delivering quality columns that go beyond the surface of today’s issues. It is easy to complain about the state of the government or the pitfalls of societal expectations, but simply parroting talking points would be below the expectations we set for ourselves at The Daily. Rather, I am encouraging columnists and contributors to search within themselves in order to unlock unique points of view that encourage our readers to analyze issues and ideas from new perspectives.
In addition, I hope that the Opinion Desk will be responsible for columns that introduce readers to new ideas and concepts, providing some respite from the stressful drudge of world news. However, do not expect an absence of pieces that tackle the most pressing issues. Many college students will be voting in a presidential election for the first time, and it is crucial that candidates at all levels of government are scrutinized, both in their personal demeanor and their policies.
There will no doubt be columns that you disagree with, as this desk doesn’t represent a single identity. Rather, what we publish will be defined by the identities of our contributors. I think that it is crucial to consider how identity and experiences have defined columnists’ perspectives and the way different identities may be affected quite differently by policies and social trends.
Ultimately, I want the Desk to be representative of NU: diverse but communal. This campus is home to thousands of creative and insightful students, and I hope that is present in our publications. The Opinion Desk should feel like home for all of its students, even from hundreds of miles away.
Ben Borrok is a School of Communication junior. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.