By Tyler Griffin
When students, and The Eyeopener, return to campus next fall, Ryerson University will have a new name.
And with it will come the “next chapter” for our university, marked not just by the name change, but by a campus community that will have to navigate a brave new post-isolation world.
Nothing is the same as it was in March 2020 and COVID-19 has exposed many of the flaws that existed in our traditional ways of doing things. There’s no going back to the way things were—and this new era for Ryerson must reflect that.
This year, we’ve seen Ryerson fail to divest from fossil fuels when other universities did, make shallow attempts at reconciliation and continually prioritize their financial interests over students’ wellbeing. If the next academic year is truly meant to be a new chapter for our university, it needs to be accompanied by specific, tangible actions from the administration.
But as students, we can’t hold the university to this standard unless we meet it ourselves.
This past semester saw the soft-return of students on campus. Seeing students walk to class in groups, laugh on Gould Street and avoid veering Lake Devo skaters filled me with a sense of purpose and community that I’d lost after working alone in my apartment for so long.
Our community has been somewhat fractured in recent years by our inability to be together. Students’ mental health suffered, campus organizing became more challenging than ever, and The Eye was no exception. We’ve had to cut print issues, events meant to bring us together, downsized some of our operations and let go of a lot of ambitions—all so we could continue to tell your stories as best we could.
We’ve all sacrificed a hell of a lot to get to this point.
Thanks for letting me tell your stories all these years, Ryerson
But I know that because of future generations, these sacrifices will not have been for nothing. I know that when students return to campus in the fall, they’ll take advantage of the opportunities around them to make a difference and hold those with power, and themselves, to a higher standard. I know they will get out there, make connections, try things that wouldn’t usually be their ‘thing’ and make use of their agency as students and members of our community. Because there will never be a better time to figure out who you are, or who you want to be, and fuck up some shit along the way.
I signed up to write my first article for The Eye in September 2016, covering a men’s hockey game. When I meekly went up to their booth set up for O-week, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I knew it was the perfect opportunity to try something outside my comfort zone.
Over five years later, we’ve broken stories of bed bugs on campus, a quarter-million-dollar credit card scandal and, of course, Ryerson’s new name. I’ve seen minds and hearts change in front of my eyes. I’ve worked with some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met over the years, who have become friends I’ll have for a lifetime. They’ve shaped me into who I am today and pushed me to become the best version of myself.
These will be my final words in the pages of this measly-but-punchy student newspaper and I’m eternally indebted to all it’s done for me and the community surrounding it.
We’ve endured a lot in recent years, and I’m sure we will continue to endure even more. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned through all of it, it’s that The Eye will continue to tell your stories—no matter how many apocalyptic disasters are thrown our way.
Because there will always be students who care enough to seek them out; because student voices matter, and will always find a way to be heard; because, at the end of the day, students won’t remember the hours spent in lecture halls or writing essays, but the times they had collaborating and making their small-but-mighty mark on this corner of the world.
The Eye may change and morph and transform, but there will always be students crazy enough to dedicate themselves to this beautiful disaster of a newspaper and make it their own.
The Eye is not post-production drinks at the Ram in the Rye, shenanigans in the (currently flooded) office we sometimes sleep in or early mornings pushing a circ cart. The Eye is an ideal committed to holding power to account, amplifying traditionally unheard voices and creating real, tangible change in the people and places around us—and having a few drinks, laughs and FUCK-YOUs while we’re at it.
I’ve given this place everything I have, and now it’s time for someone else to do the same and make it their own.
So go out there, get involved, learn something new, make mistakes, fuck some shit up and keep writing the story (maybe even in the pages of The Eye?).
Thanks for letting me tell your stories all these years, Ryerson. It’s been the greatest honour of my life.
Editor-in-Chief, Vol. 55