From a very early age, it became brutally clear I was not an athlete. My friends imagined playing for the Red Sox, Patriots or Celtics, but I didn’t dwell on that dream for long. The only moment I kidded myself came back in kindergarten when I scored six goals in one game during the town soccer league.
In my moment of glory, I decided to ignore the fact that the goalie was sitting down and that one of the defenders found the cones more intriguing than the actual game. It wasn’t until I got moved to the A-side that I realized I’d starve if I tried to go pro.
The earliest those games would start was 8:30 a.m. But I’d be up every Saturday morning at the crack of dawn, already dressed in my uniform—shin guards and all. I couldn’t wait. From that early age, I was obsessed with sports.
As the years progressed and I gradually retired from soccer, baseball and basketball, I still couldn’t get enough. I’d religiously follow the NBA, NFL and MLB and talk about the latest headlines with my friends every day.
And even though I grew up reading The Boston Globe sports section every morning and admired the likes of Dan Shaughnessy, Mike Lupica and Bob Ryan, it wasn’t until my sophomore year at Santa Clara that it dawned on me that my real dream job was as a sports writer.
There really is nothing better than getting paid to watch and write about sports. With no prior journalism experience, I had to learn the ropes quickly, but Santa Clara was the perfect place to learn. All of the coaches and players I’ve interviewed during my time here have treated me with courtesy and respect—even after a tough loss.
The Athletic Department was incredibly generous in securing me interviews and press passes to all the games. And it was awesome watching baseball games from the press box behind home plate and basketball games from midcourt.
But watching the games is only half of the job. You still have to write the article and compile the paper. I consider myself lucky to have worked with amazing people in the newsroom.
I always enjoyed the lighthearted atmosphere on production nights—and the perk of having free dinner delivered every Wednesday night to the Benson basement. And I want to thank my fellow sports writers who made my job as sports editor straightforward and a lot of fun.
As I reflect upon at my time at the paper—from my first column about the Warriors to interviewing Steve Nash—I’m filled with gratitude.
I’m grateful for all the lessons I’ve learned along the way. I’m grateful to have played a small part in creating the newspaper each week. I’m grateful to have been a part of The Santa Clara.
Andrew Slap is a senior communication major and former editor of the Sports section.
When I first began telling people I wanted to be a journalist, I was often met with a cautious, polite smile. “It’s going to be tough to make a living,” people would say, shaking their head and lamenting my future earnings (or lack thereof ).
But as a sophomore in college, finally passionate about something for the first time in a long time, I bit my tongue.
Two and a half years later, as a senior now preparing to graduate, I am met with a much different reaction when I share my desire to pursue journalism. I am now on the receiving end of praise and affirmation. “Good for you,” people say more often than not. “We need good journalists, now more than ever.”
Just as I have seen the public perception of journalism change in the last few years, I have also observed a notable shift on this campus. Much like the journalism industry found itself at a pivotal juncture following the November election, over the last nine months we at The Santa Clara were faced with our own challenges that turned into defining moments.
In light of a multitude of controversial campus events this school year, ranging from the Casa Italiana incidents in October to the university’s censorship of this newspaper in February, the Santa Clara community has looked to The Santa Clara for information on pressing and pertinent issues. As news editor, I began to realize the great power and responsibility that came with being a journalist in such times—at Santa Clara and beyond.
Despite the events of this academic year, for which the university has received its fair share of criticism, I am grateful that Santa Clara is an imperfect place. Call it a bubble, call it Claradise, call it “not the real world,” but at the end of the day it remains a work in a progress. I think it’s important to note that if Santa Clara really was the utopia it is often marketed as, we students would not have the opportunity to challenge authority and question what doesn’t seem right.
During my time working for The Santa Clara, I have learned much about this university I would never have otherwise—albeit some of it insignificant, but all interesting nonetheless. I also had the privilege of access—something that integral for a journalist to do their job but is being increasingly threatened at the national level. I spoke to students, staff and faculty who willingly shared their knowledge and experiences with me. To each and every person that allowed me to listen, and especially to those who trusted me to tell their stories, thank you.
As stakeholders in this university, you have rights. You have a right to know how money is being spent. You have a right to clear and timely communication about pressing campus matters. You have a right to feel safe and accepted. Support the journalists on this campus who remain dedicated to seeking answers to your questions and working to serve the public interest.
To the future staff of The Santa Clara, continue to hold the powerful accountable and maintain a healthy level of skepticism. Amplify marginalized voices and provide a space for those stories. Seek a diversity of viewpoints on divisive issues. Adhere to the ideals of journalism, staying rooted in objectivity, balance and fairness. This newspaper is an invaluable resource for the Santa Clara community and I feel lucky to have called it home for the last two years. I now walk away confident that it will continue to be a platform for information, conversation and the exchange of ideas on this campus.
Jenni Sigl is a senior communication and Spanish double major and former editor of the News section.
When I came to Santa Clara, I wasn’t super keen on joining the newspaper. In fact, I made a point of not signing up as a first-year. I had worked on the staff of my high school’s student newspaper for all four years, and while I had thoroughly enjoyed the work, when I arrived at the palm-lined campus, I thought it was time to try something new—to find myself elsewhere.
Yet, by the end of my first year, I hadn’t found “elsewhere.” On a whim, I applied for a small sports copy editor position at The Santa Clara. I got the job and quickly found I loved editing—despite my cluelessness about sports. And then a few months into my sophomore year, I felt the urge to start writing again. I wrote an absolutely tantalizing first article for the news section—a report on the increased internet speeds at the university.
Any uneasiness I had about working for the paper quickly dissipated after my second article—a story on Seinfeld director Andy Ackerman and his talk on campus. To my surprise, I landed front page. Call me a narcissist, but I loved seeing my writing, my own words, physically printed. From that moment on, I was addicted.
But perhaps what I’ve come to love best is how connected I feel to the university and even to the Bay Area through the newspaper. From starting out as a news reporter to becoming Scene editor, I have learned about people and events I probably would have never encountered—from lectures on longevity and food waste to the on-campus mariachi and ballet folklorico groups. And at staff meetings, I have made friends with people I don’t always see around campus. So over the years, The Santa Clara has always guaranteed me a refreshing change of pace.
Working for the newspaper hasn’t always been easy for me, however. I’ve always struggled with shyness—the thought of interviewing strangers initially terrified me. I wanted to bury myself behind my computer screen and ask questions over email for all of my stories. Suffice to say, after having to talk with Bronco Wine Company founder Joe Franzia, as well as “West Wing” actress and theatre innovator Anna Deavere Smith, my confidence in my interview skills has spiked dramatically.
I can also account many long nights to my work for the newspaper—diligently writing and editing my own and other reporters’ stories until the wee hours of the morning. Wednesday nights after production always left me drooping over my homework in exhaustion. Yet, regardless of the darkening circles under my eyes or the crankiness I felt the next day, I always returned for another week, excited to do it all over again.
Although I haven’t finalized my post-graduation plans, I hope to continue with journalism. From reporting on Palestine Awareness Week to the reopening of SFMOMA, I have found a true passion for telling and sharing stories while working at The Santa Clara these last three years. I only wish I had joined sooner.
Maura Turcotte is a senior English and political science major and former editor of the Scene section.
When I came to Santa Clara, I was determined to get the hell out of here. I practically locked myself in my room for a year and worked as hard as I possibly could to transfer to the USC Annenberg School of Journalism. I was deeply depressed and isolated— attempting to make friends while living on first floor Sobrato as a first-year student is hell on earth—but writing for The Santa Clara every week was one of the few bright spots in my life.
When spring rolled around, my USC acceptance packet came in the mail. As I clutched the thick packet containing enrollment dates and course information, something didn’t feel right. I was already hired as News Editor for my sophomore year, and I knew I would be a fool to give that up.
Serving as News Editor during my sophomore year and then as Editor-in-Chief during my junior and senior years was the most deeply fulfilling, rewarding time in my life that I could ever ask for. The experience transformed me from an introvert to an extrovert—I am no longer afraid to speak in front of groups and I am more confident than ever that I can lead others. Best of all, it left me with memories I will cherish for the rest of my life.
I will never forget receiving leaked CCTV footage showing the Casa Italiana swastika incidents and the vandalization of the 43 students memorial—both containing cryptic messages from SCU Watch. Days later, I poured over the extensive Office of Marketing and Communication leaks from SCU Watch until 5 a.m. Seeing the tribute to the way The Santa Clara covered the Casa Swastika incidents in the student play “Welcome to Claradise” was incredibly moving and a validation of the work we did.
I will never forget running back and forth from The Hut, frantically finishing my story after the administration announced it was closing on production night. I’ll also never forget my relief when property owner Ray Lychak told me that the Hut’s sepia, popcorn ceiling tested negative for asbestos—I spent too many nights there to count, and I certainly didn’t want to increase my mesothelioma risk.
I’ll never forget covering the meningitis outbreak that rocked campus last year. As I reported, I was in a sleep-deprived, practically delirious state from a cold that left me with extreme fatigue and neck pain—my presence at the press conference at the Santa Clara County Health Department made some of the reporters question the health of Santa Clara students.
I’ll never forget frantically posting updates and editing a colossal amount of opinion submissions after Santa Clara’s administration approved Turning Point USA as a club—the trusty living room couch was my home base when I stayed up all night editing the website.
I’ll never forget calling my mom in a fit of angry, desperate tears after I couldn’t get our software to work the day before production night, and then laughing about it the next day.
I’ll never forget going to L.A. for a newspaper awards banquet with Nick Sonnenberg and the Flynn brothers. Seeing Jimmy pretending to be “Big Nasty” by wearing all-black, a bollo tie and blue-tinted sunglasses left me in stitches. Unfortunately, our “rowdy behavior” at the banquet deeply offended delegates from California Lutheran University.
To my staffs over the past two years, thank you so much for putting up with my sailor’s mouth, my constant tinkering on your InDesign pages and my absolute inability to conceal my stress.
Jack Gillum, thank you so much for giving me the most insightful journalistic guidance this year and helping me tackle the difficult issues I’ve encountered. Your vehement commitment to the freedom of the press is incredibly inspiring and motivational to me, and you will do amazing things on the Washington Post’s investigative team. I hope to follow in your footsteps and live up to the legacies of other former editors-in-chief like yourself, like CNN reporter Jeremy Herb or re/Code reporter and editor Kurt Wagner.
To next year’s staff, I encourage you to stick to your guns and defend your freedom of speech. Do what feels right—journalistic integrity should not be compromised even if someone doesn’t like the quotes they said at a press conference. When our freedom of speech was compromised on this campus in winter, I was blindsided and boxed into a corner. A sense of doom and dread washed over me. I felt like an institution I loved dearly was forcing me to compromise my commitment to freedom of the press, something that professors preach in campus classrooms and that the Markkula Center defends in its publications.
After speaking out against the censorship, I feel incredibly empowered to sniff out the truth and not feel discouraged in the face of adversity when reporting in the future. Journalism is under siege across the nation and is under threat more now than any other time in recent memory—my new motto is “solve the unsolvable.”
I’ve been told by multiple journalists in the field that the job will make me haggard, worn out, jaded and paranoid about job security, that I won’t get holidays off and will have significant pay cuts rather than pay increases. In fact, the man who helped me snag my first internship at the Mercury News was so unhappy that he ended up hightailing it out of the newsroom and moving to Costa Rica.
But I’ve also heard from many professional journalists how incredibly meaningful their work is to them, and how they are living out their dreams every day when they wake up and work on a story.
I will be making my first transition into broadcast journalism over the summer when I begin a full time internship at KSBW in Salinas. Although, it will probably take a miracle before you see me on your T.V. screen—I sound like a monotone, tongue-tied shoe saleswoman when I attempt to read lines from a script. But, as always, I’m up for the challenge.
Sophie Mattson is a senior English and political science double major and editor-in-chief for the past two years.
I fell in love with you. Your Jesuit philosophy enticed me to write to you in late 2012, and I cried as I read that you loved me in March 2013.
However, those tears of joy have slowly devolved into tears of frustration because of you. You were carved into existence over indigenous land and continued oppression even as you claimed to stand for compassion. You lied to us even before we stepped foot onto the greener than green grass and saw your palm trees glistening in the sun. You said you’d form us into people for others, yet what you make is people of indifference.
You promised me the time of my life. You were all I thought about as I dream about how beautiful you would be, teaching us the key to setting the world on fire. A space where I could find fellow peers whose lives were not ridiculed or dismissed, but were uplifted instead. You promised me the epicenter of social justice activism. A space that would give voice to the voiceless. Yet, I walked into a room and you weren’t there. I roamed through campus and stared at the Mission’s silhouette wondering what I had done wrong. You left me to fend for myself.
You left me on a campus with individuals who would rather fight against Black Lives Matter than support them, turn a blind eye to the undocumented plight, and most regretfully, allow others to drown in your false Claradise.
It is hard to love you, for my experience has been marred with the smiles and laughter of apathy. It is hard to love your leaders who give weight to arguments against my existence. It is hard to love you because you have sent love letters to others who will never love me for my whole self.
Despite all of the ridicule and misfortune you sent my way, I stayed. I stayed, because I met others you had also lied to. They became my mentors, others who felt the same crippling fear and disdain toward you. They nurtured me when you caused me more than just pain, but restless nights of suicidal thoughts.
This is a goodbye to you. As well as an homage to those I leave behind with you. They are a new generation of leaders more intelligent and capable than my generation. They have been exposed to your worst and have relentlessly fought back against your hate. I am forever grateful that you brought them into my life and even more grateful that I get to say goodbye to you.
I know many students and some faculty will rejoice my departure come June 17. However, I’ll rejoice at the new generation that is more prepared and capable of making Santa Clara what it is supposed to be.
I loved you. But not anymore. Goodbye Santa Clara.
Isaac Nieblas is a senior political science, ethnic studies and Spanish triple major.
I ’m proud to say on June 17, 2017 I will be graduating from Santa Clara. I came to this school as an early decision applicant, because when I visited my junior year of high school I felt right at home. I was drawn to the palm trees, the sun, the roses, but most importantly the people.
Anyone who knows me has heard me talk about this visit and the student who got off his longboard to walk my family over to Benson.
This experience is so central to the heart of the university and my time here. It reminds me of what Santa Clara means to me and the potential I believe we have as a community.
I have seen this campus change over four years in ways I never knew were imaginable and I saw myself change with it.
My first year I struggled to find my place, but managed to stay afloat. It was my first year away from my family but life soon showed me that family is never too far away, even if they are on the other side of the country. I also made some of my closest friends—friends who continue to inspire me, motivate me and push me to be better. I have never had a sister before, but Santa Clara helped me find more than I can count.
My sophomore year I spent more time working to feel safe and like I belonged than going to my own classes. I was called slurs. I felt out of place. I was insulted and so were my friends. We were told to “go back to San Jose State.” For the first time in my life I was called “monkey” and “N—– B—-.”
When we turned to the school, they let us down. So we got angry and we wrote because no student should have to feel the way we did. No student should have to go through what we did. We spent our days, nights and weekends in Benson trying to figure out what needed to happen to make Santa Clara a better place for everyone.
We worked through midterms and finals to writing a 22 point document to address Santa Clara’s state of diversity and inclusion.
This became the fourth step of the Unity Movements.
My junior year was one of the most stressful years in my life. I thank God for my friends, my housemates and Igwebuike’s board for helping me get through it.
As is if balancing work at Benson, being a Neighborhood Representative and Igwe’s Cochair wasn’t enough, I was dealing with the death of a friend and a few family members.
But spring quarter was that year’s saving grace. I went on Campus Ministry’s SEARCH Retreat, and was reminded that in order to serve other people, I had to serve myself first. This school asks so much of it’s students and we do it because, if we don’t then who else will?
It’s about figuring out a delicate balance of work, advocacy and life. But something I forgot but was reminded of is that you can’t give from an empty cup. You have to remember to recharge and replenish.
This year, I faced the struggle of looking past Santa Clara and focusing on my future. This was so hard, because for a long time I saw them as separate. But they’re not. These two things are forever intertwined: I’m now, and will always be a Bronco.
But I can’t forget that I’m still that loud, unapologetic, stubborn girl from West Philly, and I still say “warder” when I mean water. I’m unapologetic in who I am and in my beliefs, but I value other perspectives and I am open to growth.
Without Santa Clara, I would not be where I am today. This school has given me so many opportunities and for that I am grateful. I had the opportunity to have an international internship in Ghana, to attend and speak at a national conference and to hopefully leave a legacy here in the place I love.
I worry that all of the work done in the past few years has been in vain. I pray that future students won’t have to experience demeaning slurs, damaging microaggressions and menacing vandalism.
And in the unfortunate event that they do, I pray even harder that the university will do the right thing and respond with empathy and action. I want future Broncos to be proud of their university. I want them to feel as welcomed as I did during my high school visit. Every student has a right to a sense of belonging because, together, we can make a community.
Zipporah Ridley is a senior history and ethnic science double major and a founding member of Unity 4.
Articles in the Opinion section represent the views of the individual authors only and not the views of The Santa Clara or Santa Clara University