By: Carley Milligan, Editor-in-Chief
For most of my college career I didn’t even know I wanted to be a journalist, and then even when I did know, I had no desire to write about anything very serious. At first, I only wanted to write about art, and music and fun things like travel and good food and wine. And, of course, I still want to, because who wouldn’t want to get paid to write about those aesthetic wonders that life gives to us?
But after two years at The Towerlight working in the Arts & Life section, I had the opportunity to meet and interview advocates like Laverne Cox. I also got to tell the stories of Towson students who were overcoming adversity and achieving their goals every single day. Suddenly, I realized that I also had this burning desire to write about life and the journeys people take, and how beautiful they can be. But I shied away from hard news.
Then I spent the summer as an intern at Baltimore City Paper, where I was forced to engage with a range of news more than ever before. Gradually, overtime, I began to open myself up to the idea that maybe I could someday write about those things too. That brings me to this semester, where I have spent the last three months dedicating most of my life (and sanity) to the position of Towerlight Editor-in-Chief.
And finally, on Nov. 18, I unexpectedly found myself committing over twelve hours of one day to covering a breaking news story. Having followed the activist work of students John Gillespie, Korey Johnson and Bilphena Yahwon for most of the semester, I was invited to accompany them to Interim University President Timothy Chandler’s office and cover the #BlackOutTowson sit-in. Myself and two other members of The Towerlight posted updates on Twitter, streamed part of the protest on Periscope and did our best to efficiently cover the movement. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that in my life.
The energy and adrenaline in the room was contagious, and even as a bystander simply observing and recording the situation, it was difficult at times not to feel moved by the intense emotions and determination of both the students and University administration.
Since Thanksgiving is still fresh on our minds, I want to say that I am thankful for having the opportunity to witness the movements that took place on Nov. 17 and 18. For me, they helped to give me an even greater understanding of those things that are currently plaguing not only our nation and our world, but our very own campus as well. Seeing the way the University was completely invested in the concerns of their students reaffirmed what I consider to be the mission of higher education.
For those of you reading this editorial, I want to personally encourage you to take the time to really try and understand what this movement means, why it is happening and how your University and student body are reacting to it. Anything can be a learning experience, and this movement is an example of a great lesson in life. The ability that humans have to listen to and understand one another, and grow as individuals from that understanding, is a beautiful thing. Taking the time to be a part of that understanding, even if in the end you don’t agree with it, is the purpose of attending a university like Towson. For that reason, I am so proud to be a part of this community and thankful that I get to contribute to it every day.