With a new year comes a new Gavel board, and at the helm of it all are the Editor in Chief and the Managing Editor. At the beginning of the new semester, the editorial positions were handed off from Patrick Carpenter and Dorothy Cucci to Carmen Chu and Keaden Morisaki. Carmen is a junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in African Diaspora studies. As a leader in the Gavel, Carmen focuses on amplifying AHANA+ voices and supporting low-income students. Keaden is also a junior and is majoring in psychology with a minor in economics. He is passionate about mental health issues, especially in trans and racial minority communities.
I asked them a few questions about themselves, their time in The Gavel and their visions for its future. Here is what they had to say:
Why did you choose to run for your position, or for positions that you have held in the past?
C: During my freshman fall I felt really unfulfilled, largely because I hadn’t met many people and I had lost touch with this part of myself. I initially heard of The Gavel because one of my best friends was applying and we knew a few people who had been Editorial Assistants during the fall semester. And once I did my research, I knew this was a community of people ready, willing, and able to advocate for others. I had no experience with journalism and wasn’t very confident in my writing skills, but I had so many issues that I wanted to write about, from the classism behind campus fashion to immigration politics. Being able to find the space to foster those conversations—even just within my own mind—was so exciting to me, and I think that’s why I stuck with it. From there, The Gavel became a huge part of my life, with Gavelers like Elizabeth Coughlin and Dorothy Cucci becoming my role models and inspiring me to take on more and more responsibilities in the Culture section. Becoming an associate editor was just the natural next step, and from there I worked my way up to the section head position. I never really even considered being editor-in-chief until mid-way through last semester, when I realized how hard I had worked as the culture editor and how much of a home I had found in this organization.
K: I love writing and recognize how crucial journalism is to maintaining democracy by allowing a population to educate and critically think for themselves. However, I wasn’t sure what specifically I was passionate about writing about. So I joined the copy team and eventually became head copy editor so that I could explore and use my writing to help others write about what they were passionate about. I became managing editor to continue helping and growing The Gavel, so that it can continue to be the force for good in the BC campus that it is.
What are some extracurriculars, other than The Gavel, that you are involved in?
C: I’m on the activism committee of EcoPledge, BC’s largest sustainability group, and run the social media page for Students for Sexual Health, an off-campus club geared towards providing protection for students and facilitating conversations about sexual and reproductive health.
K: While now my primary extracurricular focus is The Gavel, I was on the Fullswing Showdown team as a freshman and also used to be involved in the Japan Club of Boston College. In addition to that, I work as a game day assistant for the Boston College athletic department, as well as volunteer in BC’s new sport and exercise psychology lab. I like to stay active by running, going to the Plex, and doing yoga. Last semester I ran a half-marathon. I also work at Newton Commonwealth Golf Course and like to play a round in my free time.
What are your career goals?
C: I definitely see myself having multiple occupations over the course of my life because I’m constantly picking up new interests, but I’m sure most will revolve around human rights work or arts and culture.
K: I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in sport psychology after graduation and become a certified mental performance consultant (CMPC)
What is your favorite Gavel memory?
C: One of my favorite Gavel memories is the first Banger I went to, where the other sophomores brought me into their group (despite me being the newbie on board) and introduced me to all of the little traditions that I can’t wait to get back to. It was one of the first few times that I really felt like I belonged there.
K: When Bernie retweeted one of our articles.
What is your vision for The Gavel this year?
C: I hope that engaging in conversation and providing education about racial inequities and discrimination in these areas will create a culture at BC where AHANA+ students feel safe and supported. This is a really personal issue for me because I have often felt alienated from many BC students as an Asian woman from a lower-income family. If I can do one thing in my time as EIC, I hope to make The Gavel a safe place for any students who might feel the same—from students with disabilities, to LGBTQ+ folks, to students of color, especially our Black peers.
K: My vision for The Gavel this year is to continue to give voices to the students and issues that often go overlooked in the BC community, as well as the greater global community. This year specifically I think we have an obligation to further cover the inequities in the world that have always existed but have been accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What change do you want to bring about in The Gavel and to BC as a community?
C: I hope to see The Gavel further develop into a publication that BC students and our broader community can rely on. Our reporting should revolve around holding our administration and student government accountable for their failures to represent marginalized voices and Jesuit values, as well as amplify said voices. I’m humble enough to know it will be difficult to transform BC’s culture overnight, but I believe The Gavel has a vital role in setting in motion substantial changes to make this a place people can be proud to graduate from.
K: I want to continue to create a family within The Gavel—as well as continue to support those whose voices, stories, and experiences need to be emphasized so that we can bring true racial and social equity to a world that so badly needs it.
What would you say to anyone considering joining The Gavel in the future?
C: To anyone who is interested in applying for The Gavel: Put yourself out there and do it. I know it’s intimidating—I was there too. But this opportunity to be a part of such a supportive, compassionate, hardworking family is something you can’t pass up, especially for you freshmen and sophomores who have been uniquely constrained in your abilities to meet people—as if the first year of college isn't hard enough without a pandemic. You don’t need any experience, just a commitment to us and to your values, and our team’s leaders will help you to fine-tune your writing, reporting, photography, design, editing, and management skills. I’m really excited about the mentorship program that we’re piloting this semester, which will give our newer members extra guidance on things like journalism, navigating BC, career preparation, Gavel leadership, and more! If this is any more of an incentive to join, our parties are really fun!
K: I would say that The Gavel is a great way to make new friends and find a family in the Boston College community, as well as a great way to open your mind to new and diverse ideas and perspectives on the world. It can be a place where beginner writers, photographers, or graphic designers explore journalism or a place where those who are more experienced can refine their craft. It can also be a place where you find something you’re truly passionate about. Whatever it may be, you’ll never know until you try.