With almost 40 cultural organizations across campus, Stony Brook University has made providing a safe haven for people from all walks of life a point of pride. While the school and the campus community have endeavored to become more inclusive, certain subsets of the student population have not been adequately represented within the pages of The Statesman. By expanding our arts section from arts and entertainment to arts and culture, we hope to usher in a new era of inclusivity at our newspaper.
With our new section title, we hope to embrace the idea that art is more than just something you can look at hanging up in a museum or watch on a stage — it is the living, breathing story of people.
While entertainment helps our readers find new ways to enjoy and explore Stony Brook University, culture allows us to grow as individuals and as a community. We see what is in front of us, but we also see the history and lessons that brought us to that moment. Culture allows us to look deeper than entertainment and what is seen on the outside. Stony Brook University strives to go “far beyond” what is expected, and we are students who are always hungry to learn more. Adding “Culture” to our name allows us to go beyond the art to enlighten you on what makes us who we are: our experiences.
Art is the tool we use to make sense of our past and present. While our advances as a society are often brought on by leaps in science and technology, our artistic advances keep the heart of humanity beating strong after every new discovery. As Stony Brook’s STEM programs continue to grow, sometimes at the expense of the arts, it’s important to remember how important the arts are on campus and in general. Art is present in all fields, and we want to bring our community back to its roots. Having a strong arts section that talks about the different hidden artists in our STEM population, can help push the staff of the university to not cut down on the arts.
Culture is deeply rooted in tradition. With the new section title, we will focus on celebrations and behaviors that have been passed on through the years and are honored on campus. In a time where even the word “diversity” has sparked a backlash on campus, it is more important now than ever to give voice to the reality that our campus is a cultural melting pot, and that we are all stronger for that cultural blend that makes Stony Brook unique. To stick to just reporting “arts” at the expense of “culture” would be denying that reality.
Almost as importantly, the name change serves as an acknowledgement that The Statesman is just as much a part of an evolving campus culture as any other organization at Stony Brook. With our responsibility as the university’s newspaper of record comes an obligation to remain pliable, to change with the times rather than become stagnant. Ultimately, we see the expansion of the section as an opportunity to grow as a media organization, to bring a whole other aspect of life at Stony Brook into our area of coverage instead of turning our noses up at the thought of changing. If we can’t examine our own shortcomings and grow through confronting them, we could only expect to be written off as irrelevant and left by the wayside.
We saw a change was necessary and decided to take the opportunity. As the campus grows and changes, we hope we can grow and change along with it. Hopefully, we can do our duty in bringing the full scope of arts and culture on the campus to light for everybody to appreciate.