Editor’s Note: Shining a light on all of CWRU’s little worlds


Shreyas Banerjee/The Observer

Third-year student Shreyas Banerjee (pictured above) steps into the role of executive editor of The Observer as CWRU goes through uncertain times.

Shreyas Banerjee, Executive Editor

When I entered Case Western Reserve University in the fall of 2019, I did not expect to join The Observer. Having had very little experience writing and zero exposure to the world of journalism, joining the campus newspaper was not the natural choice. I hadn’t foreseen going to CWRU earlier in the year, but there I was, after going through the cycle of college admissions, not particularly enthusiastic about the next four years and my time here. Then something happened within my first few weeks on campus, something I could have never expected: I fell in love with CWRU. With its bizarrely conflicting yet beautiful architecture, its proximity to cultural institutions and its diverse social environment, CWRU’s wily charms slowly enchanted me until I was a proud Spartan. Wanting to learn more about my new home, I picked up an issue of The Observer from one of the many newsstands around campus, and my eyes were opened to everything beyond the veneer I had grown fond of. Telling the stories of students, through their interests, activities and actions, The Observer became my guide to the years ahead of me and a place to step into the conversation of CWRU. Joining the organization then was a leap of faith that I could help relay this student experience to others and help keep all in the university informed about the ongoings of student life. I might not have predicted it earlier, but The Observer became an integral part of my student experience here, and I wanted it to do the same for others.

Now as executive editor, I come into this role with the student experience as fragmented as ever. After almost two years of living through a pandemic and the many ups and downs that have come along the way, the college experience we all hoped to have has been completely altered. As classes and clubs went all-digital, many of us turned away from the notion of campus life, and even with a return to in-person instruction, things have never quite been the same. This, of course, has been exacerbated by the Omicron variant and the return to remote learning for the next two weeks, give or take. But let us be honest: Case Western Reserve University has never had the most engaged campus population, even before the pandemic. Many CWRU students will likely never vote in Undergraduate Student Government elections, attend the many events around campus or keep up to date with the latest campus controversy. The stereotype of CWRU students being simply devoted to academics above all else may not be a completely accurate portrayal, but there is some truth to it. As we strive to return to normal college life, we must also try to rebuild our community into a more cohesive and supportive one. While student life may seem superfluous, the issues we face as students at CWRU are the ones we face in our everyday lives. Only as a community together can we tackle them and make this a place that molds us for the better, not just academically but in every way. We want a community that makes us come out of CWRU better than we were when we came in, which can only happen if we are all invested in it. The Observer can help with that.

Just as local newspapers are important for their communities, student newspapers help campuses stay informed and up to date with the ongoing issues affecting their daily lives. Without local newspapers, communities tend to have lower voter turnout and decreased civic engagement, with misinformation and rumors allowed to proliferate and no real attention being turned to the many problems affecting people daily. Similarly, student newspapers at their best can help people better grasp their university’s happenings and understand the ongoing issues and efforts. Student newspapers can give a voice to the student body and act as a proper check on those with power over our academic lives. All this helps to create an invested and engaged student body. However, this can only happen if the newspaper covers the issues relevant to students.

As executive editor, my main guiding principle will be to consider The Observer as a spotlight on what matters to our student body. By bringing attention to the matters that impact us all—whether socially, academically or civically—we can guide discourse in a fragmented community. Many little worlds make up the universe of CWRU. Each student has their own story and experience that make up their time here. By highlighting enough of them, we can give a fuller picture of the student experience here at CWRU, warts and all. There are always things students are talking about around the tables of Leutner, Fribley and Tink—whether it be about the latest sports game, concert or tuition increase. It is our job as The Observer to capture that. Only by delivering content that is relevant to students and helps people navigate their university can this paper help bind this campus together.

This can only be done by having as many student voices as possible involved in our paper, so we can showcase every single little world that is here at CWRU. My first few actions as executive editor will be to refocus our content on what is pertinent for students to be aware of and help build a collective spirit in our staff to enable as diverse a set of student voices as possible. So I call on all of you reading this note. Come and join us. Help us document the ongoings of CWRU and shine a light on your little world. Come aboard as a writer, editor, photographer, videographer, graphic designer or a business person, and help us deliver content that truly encompasses the entirety of CWRU. If we want to be a community that lives up to our potential, we need as many people as possible invested in recounting our collective experience. Help us tell the story of the university we all love so much.