Senior Letters: Hannah Sawyer

The Gettysburgian celebrated the graduation of several writers and editors this spring.       Photo courtesy of

By Hannah Sawyer, News Editor

How many times have I walked through the CUB? Rough estimate – I’d say approximately 1.7 million. You’d think that by now I would know every inch of that building, but today I noticed something entirely new: a unisex bathroom located in the far corner opposite the mailroom. Who knew? Not me.

 I wish I had noticed it earlier because noting the location of a low usage toilet is always helpful, but beyond that, it showed me that every day I’m at this school I learn something new and that whether you’ve been here for four years or one, there’s always something else to uncover.

I mean just today I learned that gin (preferably Seagram’s with a hint of lime – it gives you the most bang for your buck) and orange Fanta are actually a delicious combination, that it’s perfectly acceptable to slap the bag at a senior seminar reception, that Arielle makes a mean strawberry daiquiri and that Professor Flynn still expects you to turn in your idea notes after three bottles of wine at an honors presentation reception.

In the past week, I discovered that the swim coach and I actually share the same sense of humor (even if we have nothing else in common), that a quick interview with someone you’ve never met can turn into a three hour conversation in which you philosophically breakdown what a one night stand means, and that D-house doesn’t care if you can’t dance as long as you still have a good time.

In the past year, I’ve found out that the unisex bathroom in the cub that I never noticed actually represents a form of equality and acceptance to a transgendered or transsexual individual, that students in Greek life are incredibly insightful and loyal to the organizations that they represent, that my experience on this campus as white female from a middle class family is completely different than the experience of a woman who is a minority from a low-income background, that the entire campus will continue to flood as climate change begins to take effect (however, this does mean more opportunities for slip and slides), and that if we all just sat down and talked to each other, we’d realize that we have a lot more in common than we ever thought.

In my four years at The Gettysburgian, I’ve covered everything from the expulsion of Tau Kappa Epsilon from campus to the entrance of the Marching Band in CBS’s Hawaii Five-O competition, and I’ve walked away from every interview I’ve conducted impressed by the passion, eloquence, and commitment of the student body to the cause that they represent.

Let’s be real, Gettysburg has a rep as a party school (Tour de Franzia anyone? Do you remember Springfest because it’s spotty for me, except for the dance party that Josh started in the ballroom, cross-hallway beer pong, and hurricane in Servo at 11 a.m.), but I think that anyone who fails to look beyond that stereotype is doing our student body a great disservice.

When I applied to colleges, Gettysburg was my third choice (really though, who dreams of ending up in Pennsylvania?). But when I visited the campus, I felt an energy here that I hadn’t found anywhere else. So I decided, grudgingly, to come. I told everyone that I would do a year here and then transfer to a school that had an actual journalism program. Well, I have two weeks left in my undergraduate career and, despite what I said, I’m still here.

I think what made me stay was the fact that there’s so much complexity, passion, and opportunity for growth on this campus. I’ve found friends, faculty, and staff members who have invested in me in a way that I could never have anticipated.

There are things that you do every day on campus that you think don’t matter which actually do. I never dreamed that a job sitting at the front desk of the fitness center would mean that I would meet a member of the cleaning staff who opened her home to me during breaks and made me chicken noodle soup, that I would develop a relationship with a boss that inspired me to return to campus after I spent my winter break dealing with depression, anxiety, counseling, and addiction in my family, or that I would spend the best parts of my last weekend partying on campus with a combination of coworkers, friends from freshman year, and roommates that I was lucky enough to end up with this year.

We can talk about the need to improve the intellectual climate on campus, the lack of diversity, the abuse of alcohol, and the fact that the Greek system runs social life at Gettysburg, but as we critically examine all of these facets of our community, I think we need to keep in mind all of the positive aspects of our campus community. Every day, as you walk to Breidenbaugh, or Glatfelter, or the Science Center, you pass people that have a talent that goes much deeper than their Longchamp bags, Sperry topsiders, hipster glasses, alternative maxi skirts, high-water pants, athletic shorts, or outdated professor gear.

There are so many people on this campus who have a lot to say but don’t have an opportunity to express it. All I’m saying is give them a chance. Stop and listen.

(Side note- I think that after this article, I’m finally ready to graduate because I have written an entirely coherent 1,000 word document completely hammered. Tommy gon’ do one more. Proof that I have mastered true Gettysburg swag. Good luck on finals everyone- and if you made it to the end of this article and to the opinions section of The Gettysburgian- email me or send me a message on Facebook because I’ll buy you a drink.)

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Author: Jennifer Kiebach

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