Words like “inclusion” and “dialogue” have, in recent years, populated programs and marketing campaigns periodically rolled out at St. Olaf College. Student protests against institutional racism rocked the campus in 2017, and ever since, the College has formed countless working groups, inclusion grants and task forces in an attempt to address the deeply rooted, socio-political issues the St. Olaf community faces. Despite initial efforts on the College’s behalf, students have continued to express that existing institutional concerns will not improve if pertinent individuals and groups are not given a fully representative seat at the table.
In response to these events among others, Manitou Messenger reporters and editors have worked to improve, accelerate and solidify our reporting to more accurately reflect student experiences that so sharply define our community.
As a platform for student expression and the documentation of St. Olaf culture, however, the Messenger acknowledges that alone, the mere coverage of such events is often not enough. We see it as vital that the College’s representative spaces are made both accessible and participatory – a tool to be used by anyone with something to say and the will to say it.
We believe the key to maximizing the Messenger’s communicative potential is to make the generation of content – alongside the consumption of content – both accessible and dynamic. This goal involves amplified hiring outreach, intensified editorial trainings and the willingness to embark on reporting processes entirely new to the staff, publication and College. Most importantly, at the Manitou Messenger we believe in the power of words and languages yielded within spaces – whether public or in print – to report the shifts taking place in our community.
In the Messenger’s newest column, “La Sazón,” native Spanish speaking members of the St. Olaf community are invited to explore campus life, politics, culture – or essentially anything else they want – in Spanish.
The presence of linguistic difference in any community allows for novel understandings of lived experience, facilitating a creative outlet where communication is optimized, regardless of the language through which that takes place.
“Sazón” Columnists Christian Avalos ’19 and Carlos Torres ’19 coined the column name, saying it roughly translates to “the spice or seasoning” in English.
Among other reports, investigations and long-term projects, “La Sazón” will serve as a representative platform to more uniquely and accurately reflect the opinions and experiences of the St. Olaf community.
If you would like to contribute to the column, email firstname.lastname@example.org.