Letter from the Editor: Thanks y’all

I've been fortunate to see an amazing side of Vanderbilt and I cannot wait to keep telling your stories

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Letter from the Editor: Thanks y’all

Sam Zern, Editor in Chief

Vanderbilt, I love you.

Over the past year that I’ve served as your Editor in Chief, y’all have shown me the best this school has to offer. I’ve been fortunate to meet so many of you on campus who are working tirelessly to make our school and the Nashville community a better place and forcing us to live up to our institutional goals. It’s been an absolute privilege to be a voice at the table in discussions with administrators and student leaders and, as exhausting as it often is, I could not be more proud of the year we’ve had as a university.

When I joined The Hustler as a freshman, I was looking for a home on campus, something familiar and somewhere I could learn what this school is all about. And goodness, did y’all teach me. In my three years with The Hustler, I’ve chased down protests, dug through archives, sat through countless meetings and coordinated with hundreds of sources to try to bring you the stories you expect and the ones you don’t. This last year I’ve been amazed at the level of activism I’ve seen from our student body. In particular, I was fortunate to cover the #FreeCyrusWilson campaign. I’ve often heard Vanderbilt called out for its political apathy and general aversion to movements, and I’ve certainly repeated this criticism myself, but on Wednesday last week I followed over 100 students downtown and tweeted as they chanted and spoke for a man’s freedom. That’s not the only time this year I’ve seen Vanderbilt turn out – earlier this semester, large groups of students marched petitions to the Chancellor’s office in support of Dr. BethAnn McLaughlin, and others protested for tour guide compensation. Hell, y’all even rallied for Rand cookies, which, while not a comparable fight, still kicked off a year of students coming together around the causes that matter to them. Please don’t lose this energy – there are so many more calls to action that we need to address and that I cannot wait to cover.   

I’m also honored that so many of you trusted me with your most personal stories, whether they concerned your experiences with Title IX enforcement or accessibility on campus or the aftermath of shocking tragedies. I thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable, to speak truth to power and allow us to elevate what you have to say.

To our loyal readers, thank you for engaging with us across our social platforms, for reading our Monday emails and for reaching out with tips and concerns. You’re our built-in accountability and it’s been my pleasure to bring you all of the top stories we’ve produced this year. I hope you’ll continue to follow our coverage and keep holding us to the high standards we set.

Last year, The Hustler went through massive growth in our readership and content flow. Coming into my term, I wasn’t sure how we would be able to top that, but I have been amazed at the way my team has continued to push even further. We transitioned our website to a beautiful new platform, ramped up our recruiting efforts to build a fantastic team and are continuing to hit higher and higher numbers of readers everyday. As much as I’d like to take credit for this, all of this fantastic growth is because of my wonderful editorial team. Dallas, Rachel, Emma, Avery, Corinne, Max Schulman, Will, Cutler, Max Schneider, Betsy, Simon, Jenna, Alexa, Allison, Jasmine, Claire, Emily, Hunter, Clay and every single staffer, this year would not have been what it was without you. You all are the engine that drives our content and builds that trust with our readers that we will be responsive and accurate and timely when they need our information. It’s been an absolute honor to lead this team.

All that said, y’all aren’t done with me yet. Even though I’m stepping down as your EIC to spend my senior year furiously job-searching and finishing out my graduation requirements, I’ll still be at The Hustler, focusing largely on staff recruitment and diversity (to my fellow campus leaders, expect me in your inbox soon). More than anything, though, I’m excited to see my successor, Rachel Friedman, take over what I consider to be the single best position on campus. She has an incredible team with big plans that are going to push the mission of The Hustler even further.

Though our content will slow down during finals and the summer, and I know plenty of y’all are trying not to think about school over break, we will still be here, bringing you the news you need and representing our incredible campus community. Make sure you’re there to follow along with us.

All the best,
Sam

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