Yesterday marked my last day as the Chief Editor of Semper Floreat, and the illustrious incoming chief, Matthew Johnson, has given his blessing for me to wrap up the past few years before handing over the quill.
I want to start by thanking the readers of Semper. Whether you’ve been picking up the paper just to do a crossword, you immediately flip to the comedy section, or you were just in the mood for the current campus affairs, I want to thank you for taking the time to pick up what we were putting down.
Further, it’s been an absolute privilege to greet an unending stream of people on their way in to campus each morning. There have been so many distinctive gaits and ways of pausing on the stairs into the Union Complex that have imprinted themselves into my peripheral vision. Each of them would take me out of whatever I was doing at the time for a brief wave to each other.
And of course, so many people have had an impact on Semper without ever putting pen to paper. Everyone who ever walked into the Semper office just to share some time with me left me with genuine joy, and many of you, in one way or another, wound up impacting an upcoming story without even knowing it.
I’m excited to pass the torch on to Matthew for 2021. He is a journalism student, and cut his teeth in the executive of the Journalism and Communications Society. For the past two years, he has taken a keen interest in everything we do at Semper, and he has also served on the University’s Academic Board and advocated for the Union in the (legislatively non-compliant) SSAF Sub-Committee. Regrettably, his time as a formally recognised member of the Semper team has been hampered by the impact of COVID-19. However, he began 2020 with a contribution to Semper titled ‘Bureaucrats meddle with Market Day‘. In this article, he reported on the unilateral decision by UQ Life to move Market Day from O-Week to Week 1, despite a strong negative response from student Clubs and Societies. It happens that UQ Life is attempting the same trick in 2021. I am confident Matt won’t let them get away with it.
I would like to spend the rest of my final contribution in my capacity as Chief Editor to acknowledge a few people by name. You’ll likely recognise many of them from the editorial page of various editions over the past few years, and I’d like to say it one more time. Semper would not have been possible for the past three years without the immense support of the following list of people (which is regrettably limited for want of a better-catalogued brain):
- Jeremy Lwin, 2018 UQ Union President, who simultaneously loved and hated everything we did, but supported our creative independence and went out to bat for us and the same independence whenever he could. And for never dropping the open door policy, despite us ripping into it every chance we could.
- Georgia Millroy, 2019 UQ Union President, who led us into some of our hardest hitting stories of 2019. Our coverage of Ramsay, Indian Feast, and the Schonell were all possible through you.
- Ruby Green, my partner in illustrative crimes. You walked into the office asking if you were in the right place, and according to our readership (and the rival publications who requested your talents) you absolutely were. Thank you for many long afternoons trading absurd humour and solicitations for creative feedback. And thank you for taking over the chief editorship that time I was away.
- The Love Professor (whoever they were) for having the strength of character to run masturbation tips when no other campus newspaper would dare. You told a generation of readers about ethical love-making, and stood by it when it became an election issue.
- Xander Hayward, for emotional support, and being the “people person” on the team. It seems like only yesterday we were running a failed bid for Semper editorship under the Team Rocket banner. When we first started to put this team together, you were the first person on my list, and you quickly rounded out the rest of the list with amazing picks.
- Nilsson Jones. I often wonder what would have happened if we actually took up the Indian Feast fella’s offer for a private interview in the back room of his restaurant down the road. You were an intrepid reporter throughout our time together, and I’m sure you will be in the future as well. But apart from the professional stuff, thanks for days spent shooting the breeze, guessing flags of the world, and ‘people-watching’.
- Peter Hoj, who, on the rare occasion we were able to break through the layers of bureaucracy and gatekeeping, made it clear that he actually really enjoyed Semper. Had you not asked me to send you a copy of the edition with your face as the centrefold, I don’t know if we would have dared to go as hard as we did in the rest of our comedy articles.
- Rebecca Kilpatrick, you impressed upon me the need for more student art around the place, and without that, we would never have produced the first Student Art Exhibition this year. Your offers to turn up at unexpected times with tea and lollies made many of us feel cared for.
- Annie Kate “AK” Bradley, for putting in the hard yards on our flagship campaign: “Random Acts of Respect”. Your willingness to approach random strangers around the Union Complex was our key to success. I have been saying “coolio pahoolio” ever since we met.
- Raphael Wixted, you were a visionary with a focus on the big picture of academia and its direction for the future. We owe many quality think pieces to you having an axe to grind over declining standards, and the state of philosophy. Thank you for the times you dropped everything to go live stream an event. And of course thank you for all times you wandered into the office for debates, push-up competitions, and long chats about life.
- Max Mayer, a 2020 editor who now hosts a university-themed show on 4ZZZ. We hope this leads to further collaborations in the future.
- Samuel Ngugi and Maddy Taylor, who, after many false starts, co-hosted two seasons of the Flourish podcast. I really enjoyed having two clever and passionate friends by my side to discuss the way student politics was unfolding these past two years.
- @quirkykittenart, who contributed the first ever ‘Your crush reads Semper’ poster.
- Zil Silvester, for coming along for the ride in your final year at uni. You livened up our writing nights, and made dependable, solid contributions. Best of luck for your wedding!
- Lillian Rangiah, you made me appreciate what a major oversight that we’d made in our coverage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, and people of colour. Thank you for speaking your mind even at a time when I was at my most headstrong.
- Alexander Asher, you perfectly melded social justice and academic integrity in your article “Substandard Deviation“, which ended up being the very first article in our very first edition. And also thank you for the deranged corkboard that we immortalised in 2018, Edition 10. There hasn’t been an editor since you that will hold everything until they can find an academic paper to support their claim for an article.
- Tessa Clarkson, you put up with my erratic, poorly-timed, and ill-conceived requests for illustrations for a whole semester. But more importantly, the work you produced never betrayed the fact that the request was erratic, poorly-timed, and ill-conceived. Thank you so much.
- The anonymous author on page 11 of edition 6, 2018. I am only beginning to understand how tough it is for women in student politics, and I didn’t appreciate it at the time of printing your article. I reflect on your contribution a lot, and I want to thank you for putting it in writing.
- Amy Sienkiewicz-Grob, for writing a guide for women starting their study at UQ that I republished just about every start-of-sem.
- Amelie Lonsdale, you put queer issues on the agenda, and kept them alive edition after edition.
- Tim Gardner, thank you for being so fucking driven it hurt sometimes.
- Everyone who ever sat down for an interview with us.
- Everyone who stayed standing for an interview with us.
- Everyone who ever leaked information to us.
- Greg Winslett, Matt Mawson, Nina Funnell, and the many giants on whose shoulders we stood.
- Ethan Van Roo Douglas and everyone else who ever gave permission for us to put them into a questionable comedy article at one point or another.
- The many many people who’ve supported me over these years outside of Semper (who will receive a proper thank you if and when I graduate).
- Anyone reading this wondering why they weren’t personally named (I’m really sorry, I forget important things sometimes, like publishing).
- The girl reading this.
- And of course, all the boys down at Runcorn 4113.