Lyndsey Wajert: Make your voice heard in the GW dialogue

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the roles The Hatchet and other student media outlets play at GW. We raise questions, critique policies and applaud favorable changes.

But we can only do so much. We need to hear from you.

We need readers, listeners and viewers to engage in the conversation with comments, suggestions and critiques.

So in my final column, I challenge you, the readers, listeners and viewers, to write letters to the editor. Submit an op-ed, or phone into a radio show to discuss campus issues. Or simply leave a comment on our website.

Our campus thrives on discussion. Political, religious, sports-related and issue-focused conversations happen every day on Facebook and Twitter, in classrooms and over late-night dinners.

But these conversations often do not reach the people they should. When our fellow Colonials show support for an issue or voice concerns about a plan, the University usually takes note. Student outcry sparked Gelman Library renovations and changes to campus dining.

Our daily conversations with friends need to happen in student-run publications, so they can be recorded and remembered. A two-month-old Facebook status update on a campus gripe can only do so much. At the end of the day, student media is your forum too.

I saw the student body’s passion and potential this semester during the GW Student Media Debate for Student Association candidates. Along with WRGW and GWTV, The Hatchet hosted an event to inform students about campus issues and hold our potential student leaders accountable.

It was promising to see such a large students turn out, and as an organizer, it was even more promising to see how many students had questions for the candidates. I hope administrators who attended learned as much I did. And GW can only improve if the University is listening to the people it is here to serve: the students.

When I first started writing for The Hatchet my freshman year, I was overwhelmingly excited – but nervous – about seeing my opinions in the paper. But to be honest, I didn’t know who was reading them. I would write about sustainability or University finances, but then barely hear any reader feedback. Then one day, I was sitting in class when I received an e-mail from my editor. Someone wrote a letter to the editor about my column.

A letter. It was not from a friend. It was not from a relative. It was from a professor with whom I had never spoken. And he shared his piece of mind on my opinions about the Science and Engineering Hall plans.

The letter proved that I was not writing in a vacuum. People were listening.

As I continued writing, my columns garnered more feedback. Some received more than others – like one in which I called for a diner on campus that saw a surprising amount of support. But I hoped midnight pancakes would not be the only thing people passionately endorsed.

So I hope readers extend that passion into other issues. And you do not even have to agree with what’s being said. Submit your ideas in a letter or a comment, or a call into a radio show. People will listen. I only hope to see more feedback when I am no longer a writer, but purely a reader, listener or viewer.

Lyndsey Wajert, a senior majoring in journalism, is a former Hatchet opinions editor and a senior columnist.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.