July 14, 2024

I have put off writing this letter for far too long. Call it denial that the curtains close in less than two weeks or an act of rebellion against the ending of the show, but I am less than pleased at the arrival of this finale.
College has course-corrected me in a way I never thought I would go and sometimes I am so surprised at where I ended up. The Torch has been one of these surprises and simultaneously one of the most exciting aspects of my undergraduate career.
It all started with my weekly tips and tricks column freshman year, chronicling the needs of college students through a naïve and unpracticed prose. Then I moved to the design table, where I would spend the next two and a half years worth of Sunday and Monday nights laying out the stories of my peers and shaping my love for graphic art. Then, after three years, I stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief, where I have spent the last year leading one of the most engaging groups of editors I’ve had the pleasure to work with.
Monday nights became the center of Wittenberg culture for me. It’s the one time and place in my week where all walks of campus life come together to share their sub-bubble with the rest of the community. Here I learned outside of the classroom: collaborating and creating with some of the best photographers, writers, editors, designers, artists, athletes, leaders and minds on campus.
With them I have seen myself grow as a writer and reporter, but also as a global citizen. I have learned the heavy burden of journalism and the responsibility we carry to share unbiased and fairly reported stories with the world. This small team of journalists works tirelessly behind the scenes every week to make sure that all of campus has access to the knowledge they deserve, should they choose to use it. I can’t be more proud to have been a part of it.
The Torch has also helped me find my voice, as a journalist and a person. I realized that there were two groups I always wanted to be a part of, the artists and the providers. Here those who wish to create art for the joy of it and those who wish to give back to the community in some way, come together to create a fun and very-much-cherished piece of media that continually brings joy and knowledge to those who create it and consume it. It’s hard to leave something like that behind, but I have the utmost faith in those who will create it after me.
At the end of the road, I look back at the school I came to and it seems foolish that I wondered so much senior year of high school about where I should go to college: Wittenberg is the obvious choice for me. Not only did I receive a stellar education, but the people I interacted with and the actives I was involved in reinforced academic ideas and introduced new creative ways of looking at the world.
Without Wittenberg I wouldn’t be the person writing this letter now. I am a feminist, an athlete, a journalist, a global citizen, a continually learning student, an artist, an independent person and far more kind and compassionate then I ever was before. This school is so much more wonderful than people give it credit for at times; you just have to give it what you want in return.
That’s why my job and the jobs of the Wittenberg Torch staff are so important: we are here to remind you of what’s possible on campus. We report it all, the good and the bad, so we also hope to hold all of campus responsible for keeping the Tiger spirit alive. Whether it’s announcements of recently won soccer games and new, exciting places to visit in town or news of budget cuts and an issue on campus that must be addressed – our job is to make sure that those we morally believe deserve the credit receive it and those who do not are held accountable.
Thus the press, as long as we are doing our job with integrity, holds the power to connect the world and make it a better place. Though we will always struggle with what we can share and should share, what matters is that news is shared and that it continues to do so. Without freedom of the press and freedom of speech, we run the risk of being kept in the dark about the world – that isn’t a life I want.
If I have learned anything working for this publication that I could share with you it is this: find your voice – no one else will do it for you. You will leave here with an education that rivals many and that piece of paper gives you more power than you can know. Everyone on this planet has a voice and yours has had the fortune of being enhanced by education; use it for good. If you do, together we can create something worth living for. So, though it is time to leave, the best is only yet to come.
This is what I have done with the light, how will you pass it on?
Anissa Dann

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