#WhyIWrite: Jackson Peck

I first became politically active in my first few years of high school. The 2016 presidential election was in full swing and my news feed was full of advertisements, slogans, soundbites, and articles about the candidates. One of the videos I watched was an advertisement for Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign in which he said: “Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together.” This statement, to me, was incredible. It seemed every heart and voice in America was asking “why is it that we’re so divided?” or “why can’t we compromise?” and there was an independent senator from a small rural state telling me that the best thing we could do as citizens and as people was to stick together.

This moment is why I write. In each position, classroom, and workplace, I keep in mind the phrase “Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together.” Collaboration and cooperation among citizens is the hallmark of our society and the ability of those citizens to be informed and educated is of the utmost importance. Perhaps one of the greatest liberties given to us in this country is the freedom of the press, and it is with a free press that we are able to monitor and hold accountable those who lead us.

When I was approached and asked to begin working for The Hilltopper, I was excited by the opportunity to pursue truth, investigate conflict, and report on the issues that matter to Saint Anselm College students. The Hilltopper was founded as an independent news source tasked with bringing uncensored and up-to-date information to students about issues happening on campus. It is for that reason that I am so excited to be joining this team. The Saint A’s community is strong, but our strength relies on our ability to understand what is going on around us. An informed student body who discusses issues is the best thing that can be afforded to a liberal arts school, and I am proud to write for an organization which does just that.

The Hilltopper is focused on dignity, inclusivity, and transparency. There is no better mission for an organization charged with such a valuable task, and my belief in the power of communication is what has drawn me here. Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together. If we can do that accurately, effectively, and honestly than we will all benefit. This is why I write.

#WhyIWrite: Cam Lapine

I was studying abroad in London during the Spring of 2018. Feeling homesick, I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a post from Nick Fulchino about the launch of The Hilltopper.

I immediately felt a new wave of homesickness wash over me. I missed the passion that drives so many on the Hilltop to be the best that they can be, to do the best that they can do, and to aim as high as they can aim. I immediately reached out to Nick to see how I could get involved with this grand project he and Meg Miller were embarking upon. Since I was abroad, I couldn’t exactly report on on-campus affairs, at least not with the kind of first-hand experience needed. Instead, I was drawn to the Beyond Campus section of The Hilltopper, of which I am now an editor.

In the 24-hour news cycle in which we live, there are outlets for all kinds of voices. Conservatives have Fox. Liberals have MSNBC. Pop Culture Fanatics have E! and Bravo. Athletes have ESPN. But where is the voice for students? That’s #WhyIWrite. The Hilltopper is the 24-hour outlet for student voices, about what’s going on around campus and what’s going on beyond our campus.

I’m an avid reader of The Crier. I think that their staff is great, smart, and hardworking. But they are bound by the limitations of their format. Their chain of command is long and thorough. They are, primarily, a physical platform, limiting the speed with which they can put out news, although Editor-in-Chief Emily Craig has taken great steps to bring The Crier into the 21st Century.

That’s why I write for The Hilltopper: because we can bring the news of the day to the Saint Anselm College population as it is happening. We don’t need to wait around for sheets of newsprint to come off the presses and be distributed. You can read The Hiltopper as you’re walking to class, as you’re sitting in your dorm room, or as you’re waiting in line in the Coffee Shop.

The Hilltopper is also unfiltered by the college’s administration, giving us a far greater degree in freedom in what we can publish. We still strive for truth, accuracy, and honesty in everything we write, but we can tell it like it is, without fear of retribution or sanctions if we publish something unsavory about the College. That’s why The Hilltopper has been the leading voice in reporting on the College’s layoffs and the departure of President DiSalvo.

#WhyIWrite can be summarized in four short words. Give. Students. A. Voice. That’s the goal of The Hilltopper, and it’s my personal goal as Beyond Campus Editor.

#WhyIWrite: Megan Miller

Female empowerment is at the core of who I am. Since my freshman year here at Saint A’s, I have been volunteering on a crisis line advocating for victims of sexual assault over the phone and in person. After over two years, I may know how to handle more situations, but the work itself never gets easier. I am reminded time and again of the prevalence of sexual assault, both on and off the Hilltop. So when an article was released by the campus newspaper denouncing the existence of rape culture, I’d had enough. I needed something different.

For a while now, I have dreamed of something modeled after Middlebury’s website It Happens Here, where survivors of sexual assault share their stories. But I also have been reminded time and again of the importance of meeting my community where it’s at. There is a reason why sexual assault on this campus is so underreported, and it is clear that in many instances survivors are not willing or ready to come forward—and I don’t blame them.

But after reading this article denying rape culture, I needed something different, because I have witnessed rape culture firsthand. I need survivors to know that they matter and that we believe them. I need survivors to know that any unwanted kissing or touching is sexual assault, and they have every right to label it as such. I need survivors to know that there are people who will stand with them no matter what.

In many ways, I have been disheartened this year with the extreme back-and-forth that exists on this campus. It is time for a source that fosters truth and dignity and allows all voices to be heard—especially those that are systematically silenced.

Our school consistently preaches the Benedictine values of love, hospitality, and community. We fall short of honoring these values when individuals are left outside of this supposed circle of compassion. I write so that we may include everyone in the circle of compassion and truly exhibit Benedictine values. Cornel West once said, “Justice is what love looks like in public.” I write because I intend to love people in public.

#WhyIWrite: Nick Fulchino

In January of 2017 and 2018, I went to the Women’s March held in Concord, New Hampshire. Recently, on March 24, 2018, I was back in Concord at the March for Our Lives. I watched students my age raising their voices for a cause they believed in. I came away totally moved and inspired.

The next day, I wondered what I could do to make a difference on the issues I care about. Here, at Saint Anselm College, I think we have too many people on our campus who feel their voices are not heard. Meg and I vented about our frustration, and we decided it was time for us to step up and remodel the system. Starting The Hilltopper is completely outside of my comfort zone. I was the Editor-in-Chief of my high school newspaper, but starting a new media outlet on campus is far more radical than I usually am. However, I truly believe Saint Anselm College students deserve a place where they feel they can be heard.

I am not interested in a feud with other campus media outlets. This is not about them, it is about everyone on this campus. When Meg and I brainstormed a tagline for our new online newspaper, a friend helped us come up with “for everyone.” How fitting. We believe that Saint Anselm deserves a campus news outlet that treats everyone with dignity, is inclusive in the opinions it shares, and insists on transparency from the College. Also, we will always use the Oxford comma.

Today, and every day going forward, I write because I believe in the power of young people to effect the change they want to see. I write to lend a metaphorical microphone to those afraid this college doesn’t want to listen to them. I write to promote the Saint Anselm College I envision. It’s a school that takes seriously the Benedictine values of love and community.

Rest assured, The Hilltopper is not a blog for Meg and me to vent about things that bother us. We will do straight reporting, but it will be balanced with opinion pieces that emphasize the dignity of the individual. We sincerely hope you’re on board to be a part of the change with us. Let’s build the campus culture we want here on the hilltop.