Introducing Safe & Sound

How we paved the way for a semester-long examination of our state of security

Steven Foster

Boy, do I love The Clocktower.

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Steven, you LOVE The Clocktower? Love is such a strong word!” Well duuuuuuuh. Is there really any other way to describe an organization into which I’ve put so much time, effort and emotion?

Nine months ago, I sat down with our sponsor, Michael Steingas, and developed three attainable goals: To bring The Clocktower online, to change its culture from the inside out and to intentionally begin conversation on issues that matter to Union College.

I’ll admit I’m a little selfish. Before I was editor-in-chief, I had this grand vision of what I believed The Clocktower could be. I envisioned sharing our handcrafted articles online. I imagined people commenting on articles so raw and real they walked upon a tightrope over the canyon of controversy. I knew we could be the catalyst to fuel conversation on what our tight-knit society values as truth. I dreamed about being the editor who finally brings our newspaper into the twenty-first century—the one to bring the voices of Union College to infinity and beyond! (Yeah, maybe I want to be Buzz Lightyear too.) This school year, my incredibly talented team and I accomplished just that. To quote the not-so-famous Henrik Lampert, “I can only preach so much. At the end of the day, I’ve (you’ve) got to lead by example . . . Don’t talk about it, be about it.”

If I wanted to improve The Clocktower’s culture, it had to start from the inside—from those whom I hired to be the voice of the students. Driven by the desire to create an atmosphere of teamwork and pride, I hired the people I knew would be a perfect fit for their position—and I didn’t take no for an answer. I intentionally hired people who were already a voice of the column they write for (Before Abner and Derek wrote religion and sports, they were known on campus for their infectious enthusiasm). By using our meeting time more efficiently, we’ve created a more personal relationship between writer and editor, and our team spirit has improved. Our pride for our articles has improved. Ultimately, our content has improved.

This semester, I have one more surprise for you. In the spirit of improving our culture, walking the line and providing excellent content, my team and I have decided to create a themed semester. Introducing, Safe & Sound.

Over the next few months, my writers and editors will be bringing you an in-depth analysis of our campus safety, by examining our state of physical and psychological security. We’ll look at how the Union College community deals with physical threats, online abuse, censorship and the freedom to be our true selves, diversity from a socio-economic and racial standpoint, as well as LGBTQ acceptance and gender equality. My goal is for our findings to serve Union College as a source of pride for what we do well, and as a wake-up call in areas that need improvement.

My team and I have been the heralds of change, and I want to thank you for sticking by us. Did we reach our goals? Are you happy with our content? Could we be doing anything better? I care about what you think of The Clocktower and those behind it, so if you have anything to say, call or text me directly. Seriously. You can always reach me at 970-623-5871. I promise to always have time to hear you out. Email me at sdfoster10gmail.com. If you see me on campus, grab me. I want to talk to you about our newspaper, because duuuuuuuh.

I genuinely love The Clocktower.

Steven is a senior studying communication.