This time last year, I made you some promises.

I believed then, as I do now, that giving your opinions and ideas in a strong public forum is The Daily Beacon's greatest responsibility. Second to that, it is our job to provide UT students with the most relevant and entertaining content pertinent to the UT community.

I promised you that our newspaper would take a more active role in promoting student opinions on campus. I guaranteed that this paper would provide you with more relevant, timely coverage of major campus events and student life.

So, how did we do?

Well, we made some progress. Most importantly, we ran more reader-generated content. I received more letters last year than we have in the past, and a great number of them made it to print. Several of you also contacted me to write guest columns, which we were happy to feature on our editorial page.

We received a particularly large amount of commentary on the branding campaign, 'Big Orange, Big Ideas,' and the SGA election. Any publishable letters I received on these topics were featured on the editorial page. I used my editorials to document the more concise sentiments that were passed along to Beacon, hoping to present you with the facts on both fronts.

In the course of my research on SGA's operations, I discovered that students were being primarily represented through appointed administrative advisory boards. This year, the Dean of Students and SGA President Adam Roddy have announced that the SGA will be taking open applications for those board positions, which is certainly a step in the right direction.

The Daily Beacon also spent a great deal of time highlighting the issue of communication flow between the administration and the student body. We received a great deal of feedback on the subject from concerned students, especially this spring semester. This summer, Chancellor Cheek requested that the newly elected SGA members create a taskforce to address this disconnect. I personally served on this committee, and I can guarantee you that my feedback was extremely candid. Some of the ideas generated in that panel will be put into action by the administration in coming months.

So we've made some progress, but we still have a long way to go.

That's where you come in. There are only 24 hours in a day, and our staff is in college, too. Please tell us what's most important to you so that we can prioritize. What do you most enjoy reading? What information would you like to have at your fingertips each morning? Help us do our job better.

Please contact us with ANY comments or concerns you have at letters@utdailybeacon.com. I have this account streamed straight to my phone as well. If Twitter is more convenient for you, feel free to tweet any comments, story ideas, or concerns to my new Twitter account @BKblairing. Follow for witticisms on UT's daily intrigues and life in general.

I work with some of the most witty, entertaining people you would ever want to meet, and every day they devote hours of their time to serving you and this university. I hope you will take the time to read and interact with us.

— Blair Kuykendall is a senior in the College Scholars Program. She can be reached at bkuykend@utk.edu.

UT Sponsored Content