As the Editor-in-Chief of the Index, I am proud to announce that the Office of Student Involvement awarded us Organization of the Year. I am extremely proud of my staff and thankful to all who made this possible, including many people who would have liked to see us fail. The following is a brief explanation about why the Index was so deserving of this award:
To quantify and qualify the work that the Index has done this year, all one needs to do is pick up the latest issue. First and foremost, the Index has been dedicated this year to improving upon its journalistic integrity from writing to layout. Each paper is full of relevant and important articles that showcase the many goings-on and opinions of Kalamazoo College. With a vast array of layout changes, the physical newspaper – now on eight-broadsheet pages – is the longest and largest it’s been in years. “It looks like a newspaper and reads like a newspaper,” is what I hear from countless faculty, staff, and students each week.
We increased our Internet presence and adopted a new website and even dabbled in collaborating with the branding department for a variety of projects. The Index has also done things internally to improve, including inviting guest speakers from the local journalism community to talk about their experiences and offer critiques (including Professor Margaret DeRitter, writer Yvonne Zipp, Board of Trustees Chair Charlotte Hall, and K alums Andy Dominianni and Lourin Sprenger from Channel 3 News in Kalamazoo) as well as attending the Associated Collegiate Press Best of the Mid-West Conference this past winter. After each of these events, the tangible outcomes could be seen in the next issue – layout- and content-wise as well as on a leadership and membership level.
The Index also revived its WJMD radio show and invites different speakers on each week to talk about campus issues and relevant community news. The Index meetings draw a diverse student contingency, and these are the most highly attended meetings that I have witnessed during my time at Kalamazoo College. Index staff members hail from all backgrounds and academic interests, across all grade levels, and all spectrums of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class – our uniting factor is our dedication and drive for serving Kalamazoo College through producing the Index each week.
When the Index faced controversy and adversity, we met it with grace and resilience true to our tradition of 137 years. We have diligently worked to be a platform for many voices and have shown that we do not back down from challenges, but instead rise to meet them – united in the pursuit of journalistic integrity instead of resigning due to ideological differences. At the end of the day, we have a paper to produce and nothing stands in our way of doing that.
While we face a variety of challenges every week – from dropped stories to controversial opinion pieces to dealing with advertising clients to going to meetings with administrators – nothing stops us from keeping Kalamazoo College informed. We are all volunteers putting in thousands of hours per year and hundreds per week to deliver our product to the community. We do not do this for money or prestige but to fulfill our mission as the student newspaper of Kalamazoo College. Our work can be seen on campus every single week, and that is something that no other student organization can do, can claim to do, or has ever done.