One of my coworkers called the Business & Labour (biz) section, the “woes” section. “It’s Business & Labour! Of course it will be sad! In this economy?!” was my response.
I began writing for The Varsity out of boredom during the lockdown in 2020. As an economics and statistics student, biz seemed like the natural route for me to try out my journalistic endeavors. Never once did I imagine that two years later, I would be running the section and what an experience it has been.
Looking back on this volume
Biz started the academic year off strong by reporting on the No Precarious Employment movement, which was fighting for the rights of several professors at OISE’s Social Justice Education department. In our second issue, we reported on the skyrocketing rent issue that has affected most students at U of T.
With every passing issue, I tried to report on how the several goings on of the tumultuous economy we live in affected students. We put out articles about how students were worried about graduating into a potential recession, how students were dealing with raging inflation, how student investors were navigating the sorry state of the stock market, and what students had to say about the FTX crash.
My other goal was to publish service journalism articles. Recruitment season is not easy, and what better place than the biz section to help students through it? There was an article about writing cover letters and how to curate a LinkedIn profile. I began the “Rotman reflections” series in which I had several students in Rotman Commerce reflect on their experiences in the program, including how they navigate its toxic culture and how they went about finding their place in the program.
Labour is the backbone of U of T, and I wanted to make sure that reporting on the “& Labour” part of the section title was carried through. We published several articles about what labour unions have been up to this year, including the Good Jobs movement and a strike explainer.
My biggest goal for the section was to implement data journalism into the section — something we were able to achieve with an article on how international students’ tuition has been on the rise — a piece that I am particularly proud of.
The team behind the ‘we’
You may notice that I have referred to my goals in the first person but have used collective pronouns when referring to achievements. This is because none of the content that biz has put out would have been possible without the team that works tirelessly behind the scenes to make it all happen.
The Business & Labour team, consisting of my associates Andrew and Georgia and my correspondents Nina and Zen, have played a crucial role in finding stories, reporting on important issues, and carrying out the more administrative tasks of the section, such as placing visual requests and coming up with pitches.
A huge thank you to Talha and Safiya as well for all the work they do to make biz articles factually correct and up to the editorial standards of The Varsity, and for tolerating my occasional tardiness in getting my articles ready for SCE.
None of the work that I do would be possible without the constant support of Jadine and Artie. From answering my questions at odd hours of the night, to looking over emails, pitches, and complicated articles, they have made my job so much easier, and I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to learn from them.
Finally, I would like to thank the contributors for all the amazing articles that they have written. I have learnt so much from my contributors about various aspects of the economy such as cryptocurrency, stocks, and labour unions.
Writing this letter has been a bittersweet experience, but I look forward to seeing what the section goes on to cover in upcoming volumes from the other side. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to edit this section, and will miss it terribly.
– Janhavi Agarwal, Business & Labour Editor, Volume 143