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Editors’ Note: A semester of firsts, in review

This semester marks Brown’s first full, in-person spring semester in three years — and, for The Herald’s 132nd Editorial Board, the first full spring semester we have ever experienced. Since we began our tenure in January, much of our coverage has documented a return to the campus we remember from our very first year at Brown. 

We experienced many firsts this semester. Gala and A Day on College Hill took place in person for the first time since the pandemic; first-years, sophomores and juniors enjoyed their first college spring break. Commencement, reunion weekend and, of course, Spring Weekend are just around the corner, once again held fully in person.

While we have maintained our three-day print schedule from the fall, this semester we’ve been able to introduce more innovative, digital features on our website. Members of our staff looked into how NFTs made their way to College Hill. Using data compiled in our second in-person poll since the pandemic, our staff created dozens of interactives to visualize how students feel about topics ranging from the Undergraduate Council of Students to legacy admissions to the residential experience on campus.

In March, the University lifted its masking requirement for vaccinated undergraduates in most settings. For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, we were able to see the faces of our classmates and teachers. Former Dean of the School of Public Health Ashish Jha, one of the most prominent COVID-19 experts in the country, was tapped by President Joe Biden to serve as White House coronavirus response coordinator

The Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority chapter, Iota Alpha, which was chartered in 1974 by 14 undergraduate Black women as the University’s first Black sorority, concluded its first semester since being revived in December. Campus dance teams took over Alumnae Hall and the Salomon Center on weekends to showcase their talent to in-person audiences. Viral trends such as BeReal and Wordle have taken our campus — and newsroom — by storm, highlighting the new ways students connect online. 

When conflict and violence devastated Afghanistan and Ukraine, the Brown community stepped in to help. Some worked to raise over $100,000 to provide aid to Ukraine while the University housed displaced Ukrainian students and scholars. Afghan scholars detailed their difficult journey to Brown to The Herald, and reflected on their new experiences in Providence.

Our reporters dove into archival resources to learn about the University’s impact on College Hill, publishing a series of stories outlining the history of gentrification and development on the East Side. Mayoral candidates spoke to students and Herald reporters about their platforms in anticipation of the election in the fall.

Herald staff members also captured moments of turmoil on campus, shedding light on difficult conversations and the student activism that has grown from it. The housing lottery failed to provide rising sophomores with adequate housing this year, sparking protests. ResLife staff also revealed structural issues in dormitories and residential operations. The Graduate Labor Organization took to the steps of the Stephen Robert '62 Campus Center in spite of pouring rain to protest the state of funding for graduate student workers.

Student government election season capped off our last week of production when the Student Government Association announced — despite declaring winners days prior — that runoff elections would decide the races for UCS president and chair of campus life. The runoffs, prompted by a candidate’s appeal that SGA violated UCS policies by not following its constitutional election procedure, resulted in a new UCS president-elect

As the spring semester comes to a close, we are reminded how grateful we are — for our tremendously hard-working staff, for generous Herald alums who have donated and offered support and for you, our readers. Thank you for engaging with The Herald this semester, and we look forward to resuming production in the fall.

Editors’ Notes are written by The Herald’s 132nd editorial board: Ben Glickman ’23, Ben Pollard ’23, Caelyn Pender ’23, Katie Chen ’23, Gaya Gupta ’23 and Jack Walker ’23



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