Photo by Kelsey Santmyer |CIGAR|

Kelsey Santmyer – Senior farewell

Just like any cliché of a senior, as we enter the last few days of classes I cannot believe that my time at the University of Rhode Island is almost over. So much has happened to me in these last four years that caused me to grow, mature, and thrive. Reflecting on my experience is mostly cloudy, but some specific memories are beautifully vivid.

I remember the first article I ever wrote for the Cigar—it was probably submitted past the deadline just like this one—but specifically I remember the topic I was assigned. I wrote about where students could get access to contraceptives on campus, and I felt so cool doing so. I felt like I had really informed an audience on the resources available to them and was doing meaningful work as a writer.

As a writer, I’ve covered a dynamic range of topics in over 112 articles. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing President Dooley, URI Police department, associate deans, professors, students, faculty and staff, about everything from updates on the construction of the Beaupre Chemistry building to answering the question, how much pumpkin spice is too much? Through it all I found my voice as a public writer.

More than anything, the Cigar gave me the opportunity to generate productive change on campus. I was supported and encouraged to share my experience as a survivor of sexual assault as well as speaking out on the campus climate that enabled members of my sorority to aid in covering it up. From that, I was able to ignite an enormous conversation on what extra steps the Office of Greek Affairs and the University as a whole should be taking in educating, preventing, and responding to sexual violence.

The Cigar gave me not only the platform to do so, but also the emotional support that my sorority had not. For that and everything else the Cigar has done, I am incredibly grateful. As I prepare to leave, I know that the work we’ve done here and the changes we’ve made are timeless.