Almost four years ago when I attended my first involvement fair, I was awestruck with the massive selection of student groups on campus. I naively signed up for every single student group that I seemed interested in. I ended the day with a basket full of freebies and a mammoth stack of fliers. Over the next few days, my inbox was filled with messages from different organizations, and to this day I get messages from clubs I haven’t even attended a single meeting for (I’m looking at you Eurotech). Although my involvement in some of these organizations began to slip, one of the things that stuck for me was the Daily Campus.
Although I approached my first Daily Campus News meeting with inquisitive curiosity, I was taken by surprise on how driven the DC was compared to other groups. I immediately became involved with writing for the News section and up until last semester, have always tried to write weekly.
As a biomedical engineering student, I always get questions from friends and acquaintances on why I write for the Daily Campus. While my involvement began as a continuation of one of my hobbies from high school, it has become a crucial part of my experience at UConn. Writing for the Daily Campus has given me the chance to often go beyond my normal comfort zone and has allowed me to interact with a broad range of different groups and individuals.
One of my favorite stories involved covering an event to raise awareness for Syrian refugees, which was held the day after the 2016 election results. I was overwhelmed by the strong emotional resolve of the participants, and felt a need to capture the atmosphere of the room to the best of my ability. As an immigrant to the United States myself, the solidarity showcased by the local community reaffirmed my faith in both the University of Connecticut and the town of Mansfield despite the turbulent political climate.
Despite enjoying my time at the DC, there have been times when I have felt uneasy. Perhaps one of my most controversial pieces involved covering a town hall style meeting sponsored by the African America Cultural Center. Although the intention of the piece was to highlight an event fostering dialogue on discrimination, civility and privilege, it became misconstrued as coverage of the infamous “Spirit Rock” incident.
As someone who is not active on social media I had no idea that the story had blown up. Several of my friends later sent my particularly nasty screenshots of messages made on Yik Yak. Nonetheless, I had the full support of the Daily Campus and stand by what was written.
Overall though, I never encountered any other contentious responses to any of my other stories. While my future career plans will not heavily involve journalism, I am indebted to the opportunity that the Daily Campus has provided me over the years. Thank you to anyone who has read my work over the last few years and good luck on finals!
Fatir Qureshi is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.