Hello everyone! It is wild to think that this is the last installment of my monthly letters for this publishing year!
I wrote my first Letter from the Editor in September to be transparent with the student body and keep everyone at UNB Saint John up to date. This year, I’ve tried to focus on the simple fact that The Baron operates on student fees, is run by students, and produces content for students. These monthly updates have been a key way to deliver this promise. So now, eight months later, I’d like to give you all a brief overview of what UNBSJ’s independent student press has been up to this publishing season.
The Baron employs a handful of students, all of which produce a variety of content. In addition, we revamped our staff page this year with all new photos taken by our fantastic photographer Wolfgang Düchtel and, alongside estimated reading times, added staff bios to the end of the articles.
I’d like to give a big shoutout to all who have worked in multiple capacities with us this year:
Tamara Holmes, Logan Bishop, Wolfgang Düchtel, Taylor Fennelly, Ashley Legacy, Melanie Clark, Mallory Herrington, Brycen Schofield, Mutale Mubanga, Kylie MacKenzie, Keila Gallardo, Sukoon Hansi, Lily Van Beek, our COM X interns.
The staff at The Baron make my job as enjoyable as it is. I have loved collaborating with each and every one of them. I’ve loved watching staff grow into excellent writers and step out of their comfort zones.
A big congratulations to three of our staff members who will be graduating soon: Tamara Holmes, Logan Bishop, and Ashley Legacy! All three of these folks hold a very special place in my heart, and I have loved working with them this past year. They are incredibly hard workers and have very bright futures ahead of them.
One aspect of this job I have enjoyed greatly is my involvement with the Canadian University Press (CUP). Tamara and I attended CUP’s annual conference in February that was held in Hamilton, Ontario.
We learned so much from our fellow university newspapers at the conference and have already implemented initiatives we learned about there.
In March, we attended their annual general meeting, and I, alongside Dalhousie University’s Dal Gazette Editor-in-Chief, David Shuman, was elected as Atlantic representative to their board.
Our term starts on May 1, and we are very excited to bring an active Maritime voice to the table!
This year, we’ve published weekly poetry from the amazing Melanie Clark. I encourage you to explore her fantastic work here.
Story highlight: Op-Ed: “We knew we’d made the right decision by getting out”: Religious cult in Saint John
This Op-Ed explored the controversial His Tabernacle Family Church that made headlines after breaching COVID-19 health guidelines in 2021. After neighbors in a Saint John community contacted The Baron about a tent popping up in their neighborhood acting as the church’s new home base, we explored the contentious religious activities happening at the hands of Reverend Philip Hutchings. Read it here.
*The contents of this article might be stressful. Discretion is advised.
Story highlight: UNBSRC brings back Saferide program for students
Staff writer Kylie MacKenzie spoke with UNBSRC VP-Finance and Operations Chris Tait about the revamped Saferide program that provides free transportation for students within the city limits of Saint John.
“SafeRide has been a priority of mine since day one. I have worked around the clock to ensure that this program is successfully implemented so that all students living on campus can get where they need to go in a safe, costless manner. Unfortunately, we had some issues in the first semester. However, I’ve worked hard for months and fought for SafeRide to make sure that this program continues to run smoothly and effectively for years to come,” Tait emphasized.
Story highlight: UNBSRC President Devin Debly
This year saw a series of ups and downs for former UNBSRC President Devin Debly. In the Fall, Debly sat down with The Baron to discuss his plans for the year. With a negative response from the student body, he wrote a letter to the Editor to clarify his thoughts.
The Winter semester saw students call for his resignation amidst several controversies. He resigned on March 2, and Faseeh Khalil was appointed interim President for the remainder of the academic year.
Story highlight: OP-ED: UNBSJ students left struggling with the cancellation of the NB-EI Connect Program
Early into the Fall semester, staff writer Taylor Fenelly wrote an Op-Ed on the controversial cancellation of the NB-EI Connect program and chatted with students about what it meant for them.
One student highlighted that he had “…worked 823 hours, which would have benefited me by making ends meet. To be eligible for NB EI Connect, the applicant must meet the minimum hours for unemployment, which is 420 hours. Like many other students, I will struggle; however, graduation is important.”
Read it here.
Story highlight: A short, initial guide to Canada for international students
This article highlighted the ins and outs of moving to Canada for studies. Written by staff writer Sukoon Hansi, an international student from India, the story overviews obtaining documents, residence options, and part-time work. Read it here.
This will be our latest piece for the academic year, as we will be pausing publication until the first day of classes in September. Our office will officially be closed as of the last day of exams. As Office Manager and Editor-in-Chief, Tamara and I will be working on wrapping up things for the end of the year over the rest of April and the month of May.
In August, I’ll start working on the preparations for our next publishing season! There are some major things coming in the Fall, and I am incredibly excited to begin working on their preparation. Keep your eyes out on our Facebook and Instagram.
As always, you can contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A little over a year ago, the board named me as Editor-in-Chief, and I had no clue what was ahead of me. There were many trials and many triumphs, and I loved every second of it. I’d like to thank the board for entrusting me in this position, the amazing staff I was lucky enough to work with throughout this year, and the student body.
As you spend copious amounts of time studying, prepping, and possibly stressing over exams, I want to remind you all to get some much-needed rest. Close your laptop, get a nutritious meal, and get a good night’s sleep! Summer is around the corner!
Have a fantastic break UNB and see you in the Fall!
Lots of love,