Notes from the Desk: This time, on paper

By Riley Board, Lucy Townend, and Abigail Chang

Pia Contreras

It’s been 553 days since we last printed an issue of our newspaper. It’s been 555 days since we were told that we were being sent home from campus due to the pandemic; it’s been 555 days since we gathered in our basement office to work on publishing an issue that looked very different than it did mere hours earlier. It’s been 557 days since we sat in a circle outside of our office, munching on Green Peppers pizza, while we discussed an emerging pandemic that seemed miles away from our small Vermont campus.

In the past 553 days, we’ve continued to write, even while scattered across the globe. We’ve advocated for a safer environment for students and fairer wages for staff. We’ve written about all of the ways that Covid-19 has touched student life, and community life, at and away from Middlebury.

Despite navigating lives marked by isolation, uncertainty and sometimes grief, we’ve still managed to put out a paper each week. 

And now, we return to print. 

Among the writers of this piece, one of us has never edited a print copy of our paper. Our staff is full of new faces, the majority of whom entered our office this past week for the first time. And even for some of our more seasoned staff, this fall was the first time they stepped foot in our humble basement office.

It’s been a week of introductions, reunifications, and a cautious sense of normalcy, even as many editors are unaware of what “normal” is. While our paper has persisted online, the return to print represents a new era of The Campus, but in a familiar form. 

This print paper may feel like just a collection of words and photos, but our return to print is about more than taking what we run online and putting it on paper. With a newspaper, we are able to hold the material, tangible product of our work; we can see it scattered across dining hall tables, on the newsstands outside of the student center. Most importantly, it can reach the hands of our readers, of our friends, colleagues, professors, and staff, regardless of their ability to access our content online. 

In print, we present a collection of stories and photos written by a collection of students, curated within twelve, thin pages that bear witness to the actions of those around us and provide a capsule of a point in time — of this particular point in time. 

And at a time when many of us are relearning what it means to be a Middlebury student, we’re relearning what it means to be a community newspaper at Middlebury.