From time to time, we editors pull out the big archive books in the Martlet office. It might be to fact-check a reference to an old story, to see if there’s a story we can follow up on or just to imagine what it must have been like to attend UVic in decades past. It’s easy to forget sometimes that our school is 110 years old (if you count the Victoria College years), and with issues of the Martlet dating back to 1948, there are a lot of memories to pore over.
It’s now April, which heralds the final issue of Volume 65 of this newspaper. What will readers find when they look over the archives in the future?
In the past year, we saw the retirement of the much-loved writer Lorna Crozier, who taught at UVic for more than 20 years, and the naming of Canada’s first youth poet laureate, established here in Victoria. We watched as Syria was engulfed in conflict and Hurricane Sandy battered the east coast. On campus, students agreed to renovate the Student Union Building. The B.C. Transit strike divided opinions. Idle No More took over the bus loop. UVic accepted half a million dollars from Goldcorp, a mining company that has come under fire for its South American operations.
The Martlet dealt with perennial issues, too, like the cost of tuition. We compared North America’s high-tuition fee system with the low-tuition system from Europe in the name of changing how we value education. Our writers tackled modern debates over equal rights, political correctness and corporate ethics. We discussed the morality of drone warfare, explored the efficacy of gun control in light of the Sandy Hook massacre and challenged the gender binary in discussions of celebrity influences like Lena Dunham and Seth MacFarlane.
Martlet writers looked at club sports funding and student nutrition and promoted the art of “procrasturbation.” Sports player profiles took a look at the lives of the top Vikes and found a new lens through which to view competitive sports. Often, these athletes aren’t just stars on the court; they excel in the classroom as well.
In the Features section, we asked contributors to submit photos of an environmental or societal ill that needs to be addressed, and they delivered. With their excellent composition, TJ Watt, Jackie Björnert and Louis Bockner highlighted deforestation, overconsumption and marginalization, respectively.
We pushed further onto the Web this year with a redesign of our website. Our new app review series received a lot of interest. IRL, the Martlet hosted the Western Region Canadian University Press conference, a convention of West Coast student newspapers.
So, what’s next for the Martlet? Keep your eyes peeled. Our summer issues will come out once a month, the weekly paper will be back in the fall and the website will be updated regularly. Don’t forget — the Martlet runs on you. We’ll be looking for volunteers all summer and continuing into September, when we hire our part-time staff. Blow the dust off that typewriter and start pounding away. We’ll be waiting. And in the meantime, we’ll be asking questions, reflecting on what inspires us, investigating what could change and reporting back to you.