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Jenna Beers / Senior Staff Photographer

To the Class of 2020:

Open Spectator’s website on your browser. On the main navigation bar, right next to our favorite four-letter word (“news”), you’ll see seven magical letters: O-P-I-N-I-O-N. Click them.

You’re now at Columbia—a school known among Ivy League light bulb joke enthusiasts for its protests. All jokes side, Columbia thrives upon the passion and opinions of its community members—especially those of its students. We’ve seen your tweets this summer about the 2016 presidential election, #LochteGate, and conspiracy theories about Frank Ocean’s new album, and we hope now that you’re at Columbia, you’ll bring some of that passionate discourse to Spectator by submitting op-eds and engaging with our content.

Spectator is dedicated to making a positive intervention in the experiences of every Columbia student through journalism of the highest quality. This mission exists at the heart of Spec Opinion, where hard facts are contextualized within the collective Columbia experience. We’re here to make you think beyond the surface of every news story, to challenge your views, and to give a human face and experience to something as detached as the relocation of the package center.

We know this all sounds pretty abstract, so here’s your Spec Opinion orientation:

The opinion page is split into three sections. To begin, there’s the editorial board—the consummate voice of Spectator that meets twice a week and collaborates on staff editorials about the ongoing issues that matter most to Columbia students.

Then, there are columns. About 14 hand-picked campus personalities deliver their thoughts and opinions to you bi-weekly on anything from Literature Humanities to crop tops. Columns are unique in that they depend more on the personal and political interests of their writers and less on, say, the latest administrative scandal (though Opinion covers those, too). Our columnists are here to provide you with a more consistent point of view on wide ranging topics.

Last, but certainly not least, there are op-eds. Op-eds are standalone pieces submitted by anyone affiliated with the Columbia community—students, primarily, but also professors, administrators, parents, and alumni. But rest assured, we don’t just wait for articles to accumulate in our inboxes (but feel free to submit to those, too—we welcome unsolicited op-eds). Every week, we sit down as a team and discuss what students—our peers, classmates, fellow club members, best friends—are talking about, and contact potential writers to encourage them to contribute.

In short, we’re always busy bringing you the best content we can get our hands on, but we need your support, engagement, and submissions to help us thrive as a section.

So, Class of 2020, consider this the opening salvo—the opining salvo, if you will—for Spec Opinion’s 140th fall semester. The Columbia bubble can feel small sometimes, but there’s always room for debate here.

We can’t wait to see what you do with it.

Paulina Mangubat, Editorial Page Editor
Hannah Barbosa Cesnik, Deputy Editorial Page Editor
Catherine Hoang, Deputy Editorial Page Editor

Paulina Mangubat is a Barnard College senior and the editorial page editor for Spectator. Hannah Barbosa Cesnik is a Columbia College sophomore and the columns deputy editorial page editor for Spectator. Catherine Hoang is a Barnard College sophomore and the op-ed deputy editorial page editor for Spectator.

spec opinion class of 2020 NSOP 2016 welcome to campus discourse
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