Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Thank you notes for one of the greatest gifts in the world

You’ve all changed my life forever
Onnei Chen
Megan Wong / Daily Collegian (2021)

One of the most important things that my parents taught me is to write thank you letters whenever I receive a gift. So, here are my thank you letters for the amazing gift that has been the Massachusetts Daily Collegian.

To Sophie Gardner:

Since my first story, you have been like a big sister to me, holding my hand as I started to walk (or in this case write), to watching me grow and become an assistant news editor. It was you who taught me how to cover the organization that would become my focal point for the next three years. It was you who trusted me to write breaking news stories on crucial events around campus, no matter how major. It was you who sat alone with me over Zoom, back when our beat was typically just me, you and Patrick (shoutout Patrick Nie!). As news editor, you steered our section to produce a diverse range of powerful stories, while also guiding your assistants to future success. I am 100 percent sure that I would not be here today without you. Thank you, Sophie.

To Lucas Ruud:

I know I’ve told you this before, but I could not be prouder of you and everything you’ve accomplished. I knew from your very first Student Government Association meeting that you were going to be an amazing writer, but I never thought you would grow into such an outstanding leader. Seeing you grow from a passionate writer to now editor-in-chief has been an absolute joy. I know the Collegian will be in fantastic hands next year — just try not to get concussed again. Thank you, Luke.

To my former co-Assistant News Editors Ella, Saliha, Irina and Sofi (and also Sara):

I learned so much from all of you about not just journalism, but also growing a community. Seeing how successful you have all become is so inspirational; it’s crazy to think that I was given the opportunity to be your colleague. All of you showed me what true dedication to storytelling really looks like and gave me the chance to constantly strive to improve. Without all of you, I would not have been able to be anywhere close to the journalist or editor I am today. It has been an honor to be your peer and I know that you will all be so successful in whatever you choose to do. Thank you, Ella, Saliha, Irina, Sofi and Sara.

To my beat writers Sophie, Kami, Grace and Rachel:

You all gave me the chance to be your beat editor, and I am so proud of everything you have been able to accomplish. You’ve worked so hard to tell beautiful and powerful stories, bringing student voices back to the forefront of the news. Whether it was an RSO feature or the weekly SGA meeting, I was more than confident that the story was going to be excellent. All of you had the tenacity and skill in making sure that the SGA was kept responsible and well-reported. Whether it was a brief 30-minute meeting or four hours of nonsense, all of you persisted and produced. Whether you choose to stay writing or become an editor, I am confident that you will continue to be excellent as long as you keep your passion. Thank you, Sophie, Kami, Grace and Rachel.

To the Student Government Association:

I began covering the weekly SGA meetings over Zoom, where I learned quickly the importance of keeping a check on power. Every Wednesday evening, I would sit at my desk for anywhere from two to six hours while SGA leaders tried to legislate remotely. One of my favorite stories was one of my first; the SGA had a newly elected speaker, Julia Fox, who was presiding over her first meeting. However, there was a massive storm in the Northeast, and many lost power, including Fox, who I wrote “presided over the first meeting of a new administration by the light of a candle.”

From topics like parking ticket initiatives to resignations to uncovering racist tweets, my SGA coverage gave me the opportunity to work with four administrations, cover 16 cabinet appointments and wrote 32 SGA-related articles. Whether it was a solo byline or helping a new writer cover their first meeting, covering the SGA was always a responsibility I held near and dear to my heart.

This may come as a surprise to some, but I truly respect the work that the SGA does. While many can give the SGA a lot of flack, not enough people think about the fact that these are all undergraduate students, many of whom take hours out of their day to try to improve the lives of their peers while at the University of Massachusetts. Many have made mistakes, some drastic, but many more have worked tirelessly to bring about meaningful change. From the Survivors Bill of Rights to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate and its leadership continuously push for student voices.

If I can give any advice to the SGA, it is to not forget who it is representing. You all have run with ideas and passions that you truly believe would improve the UMass community. But once you walk into the Senate, you no longer just represent your beliefs, but rather you become an advocate for your fellow students. Don’t give up, and don’t lose your fight.

Specifically, I would like to thank Julia Fox, Sonya Epstein, Carla Montilla, Julia Curto and Shayan Raza. But overall, thank you to the SGA.

To the Massachusetts Daily Collegian:

You gave me a home in the midst of being stuck at home. I remember as a freshman wanting to join, but I was terrified of the daunting steps going down to the old office. Being remote was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the wiggle room to join the Collegian while not being completely anxious about it. Looking back on it now, I wish I walked down those steps on my first day here. It always seems corny or cliche to say, but you all have truly become a family to me. It’s been one of the greatest experiences of my life being able to write for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, and I know I will never forget it. Thank you, MDC.

Alex Genovese was an Assistant News Editor. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @alex_genovese1.

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