When I first saw an email from the faculty advisor of The Spectrum appear in my inbox last year, I had no idea how important that email—and the goal behind it—would become to me. I gave it a quick scan at first, thinking it was just another one of the dozens of emails we receive every day, but something about it caught my eye: it was an invitation to all undergraduates to apply for the Audrey Niblo Award for Excellence in Reporting and Writing, which was established in 2018 in honor of a student named Audrey who had passed away about a year before I came to SHU.
As a freshman majoring in English, I thought it a dream come true to be presented with the opportunity to write for the university’s newspaper. However, I felt particularly called to apply for the Audrey Award because this part of Spectrum was different from the rest of the newspaper: it was a special section of Perspectives, anyone in the community could write for it, and it didn’t involve only writing reports like much of the rest of the newspaper.
I was invited to attend the introductory meeting to speak with students and faculty who had known Audrey and to learn a bit more about Audrey, her interests, and her impact on Spectrum. Within the first few minutes, I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of for the rest of the year—and hopefully for the rest of my time at SHU.
As the newest members of this initiative, one of our first orders of business was to create a name for our section in the newspaper. A name that was catchy, short, and something Audrey would’ve loved. Soon enough, we had a winner: Audrey’s Corner.
In the meantime, I was also thinking of topics and articles I could write. As a group, we discussed writing about challenges that students face on campus, such as bullying, dealing with stress, and mental health issues. I learned that Audrey had been bullied when she was younger, and how she became an advocate for change by speaking out about her experience being bullied.
We also talked about the things Audrey loved most, such as ice cream, spreading kindness, and smiling. At the beginning of the spring semester, I submitted my first piece to Audrey’s Corner: a poem about the importance of a smile.
This year, I will be doing more behind-the-scenes work as the manager of Audrey’s Corner. While I am thrilled to continue writing for Audrey’s Corner, I am also excited to make Audrey’s Corner more widely known as it returns to both the online and print versions of The Spectrum.
As we begin the fall semester, we will continue to promote kindness on campus and in the general community. We will continue to remember Audrey through a variety of articles, including opinion pieces, creative writing, photographs, and art. This year especially, we need some of Audrey’s caring nature and optimistic personality to share with the world.
An application for the 2020-21 Audrey Award will be sent in an email to all undergraduates, but you don’t have to be a student to write for Audrey’s Corner. In the past, we’ve also had faculty, clubs, and even parents of students submit works.
If you have any questions about the Audrey Award or would like to write for Audrey’s Corner, feel free to reach out to Jill Amari, manager of Audrey’s Corner, at email@example.com.