When I stepped into the role as The Varsity’s Editor-in-Chief, no one knew what kind of year we were getting into. But we knew what kind of year we were coming out of — a year of online production, Zoom calls, and me responding to edits on articles from my bed.
As the summer unfolded, we realized we’d be able to return to in-person production, and our beloved office at 21 Sussex Ave. Suddenly, the first few weeks were a whirlwind of group coffee orders, intercom shenanigans, and burgeoning office friendships.
The benefits of being able to work together again became apparent quickly. Even when we had to return fully online in the beginning of winter — and then to being hybrid for the remainder of the semester — I found that the community we had created was able to last us the whole year. I saw how section editors began to collaborate and learn from each other. I watched how they took in new writers and trained their associates to write incredible pieces.
And ultimately, it’s the relationships we’ve built that allowed us to continue doing important work. This year, we’ve seen the publication of countless stories on the International Human Rights Program hiring scandal, and investigations on international tuition and long-standing allegations against a former Trinity provost. And of course, our team covered the continual unfolding of COVID-19-related stories through many different angles — such as a scientific review of U of T’s reopening plans, the difficulties faced by international students, and how campus theatre persevered through the pandemic.
And then there were all the other stories that mattered to our community. Stories like the closure of Daddyo’s, U of T student athletes going pro, and U of T’s announcement to divest from fossil fuels.
This year, led by Aditi and Jadine, we put out another digital magazine, Hindsight, and will be putting out our first print magazine in three years later this month. Needless to say, these magazines were no small feat. We put together four wonderful themed issues — Black History Month, Love & Sex, Food, and Future — where each department of the paper worked together for a common goal.
Lastly, I need to thank all the people that created our community this year. Our news team, Lauren and Marta — for being there for every piece of breaking news, and being unwavering in your commitment to publish the stories we needed to do.
Sarah, for always following the money. Maya, for always representing students’ voices actively and accurately. Alexa, for always being an advocate for your writers and approaching your work joyfully. Our Science Editors, Sky and Khatchig, for tackling big topics and treating them with care. Angad, for teaching me something new every week and making everyone in this office a little bit more of a sports fan.
The entire design team, Will, Makena, and Aditi, for assembling the paper each week and having much better font choices than I do. To our visuals editors Andrea and Caroline, for being renaissance women and bringing in new ideas each week.
And our copy team, Artie and Nawa, it’s impossible to describe here the powerhouses you two are — from the hours in the office to the care and attention you put into each article.
Lastly, the rest of the management team — Tahmeed, Stephanie, and Aditi — for being there on many late nights, and being true leaders of this paper.
To my successor, Jadine, I have complete confidence in you. Your ability to successfully spearhead two magazines while running the Features section demonstrated that there’s clearly nothing you can’t do.
It’s overwhelming to think about how many hours of work people put into this paper each week. To each writer, photographer, illustrator, and copy editor that used their free time to contribute — thank you. We couldn’t have done it without you.
I hope, if you’ve read this far, you take this letter as an urging to get involved with The Varsity. If you feel unsure of yourself or are questioning whether you might belong here, I should tell you, we all have at some point. Too often, I forget that I once believed I wouldn’t be able to be a part of this organization.
The organization cannot thrive without you — we need writers and editors, photographers and designers. Or read our articles and tell us what you think. We want to hear!
Lastly, I need to thank our readers. Thank you to everyone who has picked up a copy of our paper this year, read an article, or shared what they thought about it on social media. We’ve loved keeping you informed, entertained, or heard.
And as we turn the page to another chapter of The Varsity, we hope you’ll consider joining us.
Editor-in-Chief, Volume CXLII