I have had the privilege of attending the past two consecutive ACP conferences under the title of Health and Sports Editor.
Each year at ACP, students from colleges across the country are given the opportunity to sign up to speak at panels for certain categories regarding what it’s like to be a part of a collegiate newspaper. Such topics included managing a newspaper, covering controversial issues and working with social media.
At last year’s conference, I volunteered for the Reporting on a Private College panel because my first choice — Covering Collegiate Sports — had filled up quickly. I wanted to debunk the stereotypes surrounding women in sports, and women who cover sports, but I missed out on it because so many other (men) had beaten me to it. So it was quite a pleasant surprise to see that not every sports-jersey-and-snapback-wearing college bro hadn’t jumped on the opportunity to provide their peers with their knowledge of sports and managing a sports section for this year’s conference.
I took the opportunity to give them all a run for their money. I sat in the audience of the panel room with my fellow Campanil writers, Joann Pak and Emily Mibach, anxious from the lack of sleep I had the night before. The moderator and three other panelists gathered at the head of the room, awaiting the fourth member of the panel; a girl. Me, with my five-inch wedged heels, high waisted corduroys, make up, hair done, and all. I’m sure I wasn’t what they had expected. And I’m sure what they expected after they saw me soon changed once I started answering their questions.
There was a lot of speculation regarding my involvement with the panel, you could feel it. I scanned the room looking at everyone who was looking at me and my high heeled shoes, red painted lips, glittery nails, and tattoos, and saw the questions they didn’t ask. What is she doing up there? What does she know about sports?
Perhaps it’s unfair to assume the majority of the people in the room were thinking that about me, but the fact that it crosses people’s minds (in this situation my own) is the reason why the apprehensions that accompany these questions need to be dispelled.
And dispel I did.
It seemed like I had been pinpointed for going to a small, private all-women’s college, where the interest and involvement in sports doesn’t appear to be too high. However, once I was able to give my input about several things, such as how to create a larger buzz and interest in your school’s publication, how to maintain active language in your articles, and how to produce consistent and interesting content, the dialogue shifted between seeing me as a section editor at a small, private all-women’s college, to as a section editor. Period.
I’ve been really fortunate to have had the opportunity to attend these conferences, where I am able to connect with other outspoken and driven writers of my age. It was a little disenchanting having the conference right across the bay, rather than across several state lines, in a place that I know like the back of my hand. Despite that, I was still able to take away invaluable information alongside some of the brightest people of our generation.
Eden Sugay is the Sports & Health Editor for The Campanil. Find her stories online here.
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