Collegian Opinion Desk: Reflections on unity

Michelle Fredrickson

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the authors only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or editorial board.

The opinion section of The Rocky Mountain Collegian is home to a large diversity of opinions and backgrounds. We are the type of people who many think wouldn’t be friends, because we are just so different. While reflecting on CSUnite, the staff of the opinion desk shares their experiences, and how the environment has allowed them to create meaningful friendships with people so very different from themselves.

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The shortest distance between two people is a story.

Michelle Fredrickson

I’ve worked in Student Media at one school or another for eight years, but working for the opinion desk has been a new and excellent experience for me. It’s easy, especially in a degree program where everyone shares similar views, to get caught in an echo chamber. The opinion desk ensures that will never happen. I have been fortunate enough to take over as the editor of the desk, and the respect shown by every member of the staff for one another’s opinions has blown me away.

Our meetings are lively and full of discussion, with a wonderful staff of people who honestly try to understand each other’s views. Most of us differ vastly in just about every possible way. Nevertheless, we manage to have good, honest conversations, and to respect one another and our different opinions. Somehow, a desk of people with wildly different viewpoints have managed to form solid friendships. And it people as different as us can do that, anyone can.

Leta McWilliams

Above anything else, writing as a columnist for CSU’s opinion desk has made me open-minded. This desk is filled with so many intelligent people, who sit on all sides of the political spectrum, and regardless of those differences we all have a very strong friendship; our meetings are always filled with respectful debate, friendly discourse, and uncontrollable laughter.

This desk has taught me that no matter someone’s opinion, friendship can always flourish. Regardless of our differing opinions, our desk is united in our desire for the excellence of The Collegian and CSU, and we’ve created strong, lasting friendships because of it.

Ethan Vassar

The world is a lot more interesting, and life more valuable, when you have an open mind. The opinion desk has created an environment in which opinions can be changed and explored, because of the lenses through which our writers view the world.

Ryan and Josh always amaze me with their political knowledge, and Michelle is a wealth of health knowledge, just to name a few. We all get along, and despite some varying viewpoints on certain issues or events, discussion is never reduced to shouting matches, nor does anyone try and force their opinion onto others.

Josh Silva

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In a time when as a university, as a country, and as a society, we seem to be more divided than ever, being able to work with people who are different from us is crucial. While many individuals have argued over the cause of the disease that is hate-motivated incidents on campus, the cure is much more straightforward. We have to focus on what unites us and not what divides us. If we in the opinion desk, all with wildly different opinions, backgrounds, and beliefs, can come together, CSU can too.

Ryan Tougaw

It took a little bit of convincing to get me to join the Collegian opinion desk in the first place. I’m glad I overcame my initial reticence because it has certainly been one of the highlights of my college career thus far. The group that I work with is one of the most fun and engaging groups of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Even though we disagree strenuously on pretty much every political issue under the sun, we still have plenty of fun and get along quite well at our meetings.

Lauren Willson

I have had the privilege of working at the Opinion Desk of the Rocky Mountain Collegian for the past 14 months. During that time, I’ve met some with views far more liberal than my own and some with comparatively great conservative leanings, but the complexity of these unique ideologies cannot be reduced to a single partisan label. I’ve worked with the religiously committed, the agnostic, the atheistic. Our desk has a diverse assortment of writers, who have become a unified group of genuine friends.

Before coming to CSU, I didn’t think much about concepts like diversity or unity. I’m happy to say that my time with the Collegian has changed that for the better. Above all, working as an opinion writer has taught me that every voice has validity. These voices must communicate effectively with one another if we ever hope to achieve consensus on issues that would otherwise divide us.

Jayla Hodge

The best way to represent and incorporate the variety opinions on campus is to have people with different perspectives writing on our desk. We don’t always agree. We don’t hold the same beliefs, but we talk to each other. Out of our weekly conversations, we have developed a genuine sense of community, of friendship. Students across the campus take our example: it’s important we start building bridges instead of burning them. We are all Rams, and at the end of the day we all want the same things.

We need to start talking about why we disagree or why we think the way we do. The shortest distance between two people is a story.

In the wise words of  Maya Angelou:

“The variety of our skin tones can confuse, bemuse, delight, brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white….
I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.

We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

The Collegian opinion desk can be reached a letters@collegian.com or online @CSUCollegian