Community is a two-way street. You belong to the community and it serves you, but relationships are meant to be reciprocal.
First-years, allow us to welcome you to Trinity University. You’re now a part of the family. No matter where you find your niche in the Skyline Campus, we sincerely hope that you develop a robust sense of community belonging here. We also hope that, in time, you come to appreciate what this community needs from all of us.
If you haven’t already, you’ll soon grow tired of the New Student Orientation routine: the advice, the greetings, the warnings “” interspersed with those dreaded icebreakers to boot. We hope you find a way to cut through the noise and find what you need to get in the swing of university living. And we hope that our work in this first issue of the Trinitonian helps you do just that.
As you settle into this latest chapter of your life, you should strive to find yourself and discover where you best fit, where you excel. Over the next several weeks, you are going to be asked to juggle so many responsibilities: classes, extracurriculars, faith, Netflix, social life, sports, work and more things to worry about. It’s easy to get wrapped up in these hectic, day-to-day concerns, but there’s a bigger picture to keep in mind.
Joining the Trinity community means more than just finding where you belong. It also means that you need to keep a look out for your fellow Tigers, and part of that requires you to plug into campus events. That’s where the Trinitonian comes in.
It shouldn’t surprise you to find that we student journalists are pretty passionate about this school and its well-being. Our most senior employees have dedicated years to covering the news, facilitating campus conversations, capturing each moment and telling Trinity’s story as best we can. We strive to serve you, our readers, and balance our duty to report the news with our duty as Trinity’s premier public forum. What better way to serve the community than to keep it informed and alight with lively debate?
It’s hard to overstate how important it is to pay attention to what’s going on at Trinity. This campus is a microcosm of society writ large. We are each citizens of Trinity University and we are governed by administrators, student and staff alike, whose decisions affect us all. If you’re not tuned in, you’ll be tuned out.
Ask the campus smokers, who were incensed last year when they discovered that the university was implementing its Tobacco Free Trinity policy, enacted this month, which prohibits use of tobacco and vapes on campus. Unfortunately, Health Services had been working on the initiative since 2013. To raise concerns in November’s town hall discussion was too little, too late.
Or, ask the Greeks, who discovered in April that the Student Government Association (SGA) senate, at the time composed of 15 student representatives, had voted to deny Greek Council’s $36,000 operating budget. It was an unprecedented move. The decision was eventually repealed, but not before a group of senators temporarily held hostage the budgets of all University Sponsored Organizations (USOs) “” including such innocuous groups as the charitable Trinity University Volunteer Action Committee and Trinity Diversity Connection. In the meantime, two senators resigned and a petition was signed by more than 200 students calling for the dismissal of more. SGA leadership has spent the summer developing a number of amendments to its constitution in an effort to improve transparency and protect USOs’ funding “” the real news, of course, is that the constitution was so broken to begin with.
Better yet, consider the Campus Master Plan, which is hailed as a monument to campus architect O’Neil Ford’s memory by campus administrators. An open letter signed by more than 80 students, including a number of urban studies majors, decries the long-term development plan for running directly counter to Ford’s architectural ideals. We love to see lively debate about decisions that affect the university in the long term. But we have to wonder whether these students were offering their feedback during the focus groups and community forums on the Master Plan held in 2015 and 2016.
These are just a few of last year’s controversies that took students by surprise. We’ll do our best to keep you informed; we only ask that you do your best to stay connected. An engaged student body is the surest defense against an enraged student body.
But there’s plenty of time to get caught up on the issues. Attend to your class schedules and roommate hangups in this comfortable lull before classes, midterms and the other ravages of student life. And try to make some friends in the meantime.
Just don’t forget to make some time for the Trinitonian each week so you don’t get left in the dust.