There are some incredible people on this campus, so go introduce yourself

Heather Bryant / Editor-in -Chief
Sep. 7, 2011

I started at UAF in 2006 as a wildlife biology major and I spent my first three years here going to class and going home. I wasn’t involved in student groups and I didn’t have a big social circle on campus. It wasn’t until last year that I started working at the Sun Star and, looking back on it, I should have started so much sooner. With all of the amazing people I met in the past year, how many more might I have gotten the chance to meet if I had made more of an effort to be involved? There are many new faces and quite a few that have been around for a while. I urge all of you to get involved with UAF and start introducing yourselves. There are some incredible people to meet on this campus.

I met Mike Sfraga, the vice chancellor for students, last summer while interviewing him for a story about the then-new sustainability fee. He spent the first 20 minutes of our interview trying to find out more about me. He asked about what I wanted to do as a student and after graduation. As I explained that I wanted to be a journalist and possibly focus on science journalism, he started reeling off names of people on campus and other writers I should talk to. He was genuinely interested in helping me with my goals. Though I’ve hardly spoken to him since, that interview made an impression on me. Other students I’ve spoken with have come away with that same thought about him. He is here for the students, constantly generates ideas and has some great stories to tell.

Forward a year – it’s orientation week and we are prepping the first issue of the fall 2011 semester. I was coming in early every day and leaving late at night and still there was one person here before I was: Damien Snook, the New Student Orientation coordinator. He lives too far from campus to drive home every night, come back in the morning and still be here for orientation when he needed to be – so he slept in his office. That is a lot more than just being dedicated to the job. That’s an amazing effort to plan an event for the students and execute it successfully. This year’s orientation was one of the best I’ve seen in my time here. Events like that don’t happen without people truly dedicated to what they do and the students they are doing it for.

There is one other person I can’t leave off my short list of people here at UAF who have made an impression on me. Lynne Lott, a journalism professor and the Sun Star advisor, is quite an amazing person. Besides being a journalist with an impressive career, she’s a great editor who critiques the paper without mincing words, which only makes us better. Last winter I had an unexpected stay in the hospital. Lynne came by the hospital to visit me, gave me her cell number and told me to call if I needed anything, even if it was a ride to a doctor’s appointment. I don’t have any family locally besides my husband. The fact that she came to see me and offered help really mattered to me. That friendship is a result of getting to know her after being involved with the Sun Star together for so long.

I hope you take advantage of the opportunity to meet the people here, whether you are new to UAF or have been here for a while. Get involved in a club or group or start one of your own. You will find people with fascinating lives, who are dedicated to what they do and will encourage you to find what you are passionate about.

If you have your own story of someone on campus who has made a profound impression on you, write us a letter and recognize that person. The Sun Star will run your letter in the next issue.

Heather Bryant

The Sun Star

(907) 474-5078

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