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COLUMN: OK, it's not actually all that bad

On March 19, 2014

Those who read my columns would understandably assume I am overly critical of Utah State University and can’t stand living in a dinky little town like Logan, Utah. While I concede a much milder version of both those accusations, there is much to be said of my feelings that reflect an opposite attitude.

I grew up an Aggie and have quite enjoyed my time in Logan at USU.

Cache Valley has treated me well. I’ve especially loved summers here, when I could climb the walls of Logan Canyon, hike up to the Concrete Jungle or down to First Dam, float Cutler Canal or use the rope swing and dive into Bloomington Lake. Winters haven’t been bad either, especially after learning to bowl at Logan Lanes and The Gutter, working on my technique at the Rock Haus and playing guitar with my friends and neighbors. Many of the sporting events I’ve seen here, ranging from Aggie football and basketball to high school track meets and baseball games, have been some of the most enjoyable games I’ve seen.

The university has a piece of my soul — especially because of the minutes I’ve spent writing for, and later editing, The Statesman. Several professors in the journalism and communication department have gone out of their way to help me become one of the best all-around student journalists in the state, that help even extended to job offers and internships when they weren’t expected.

It pretty much goes without saying that I owe a lot to USU for allowing me to earn a college degree — though I’m sure I won’t be happy about the term “owe” much when I start making student loan payments in the coming months.

What I’ve been amazed by the most is the generosity of the office I used to hold very little respect for.

Last summer, The Statesman was on the chopping block because any student publication is a potential fiscal and legal liability. We were evicted from our newsroom next to the Quickstop in the TSC and relocated to the much-smaller SOAR office on the third floor — all this coming after administrators made such a big deal of moving the Aggie Radio studio next door to our former office under the guise of having the two media groups work more closely with one another. Not to mention this was right after our former adviser was forced to retire — or at least that’s how it looked to us.

We felt lied to, betrayed and bullied. The administrators to whom I voiced my concerns brushed me off like a nuisance.

It’s no secret my newspaper isn’t the most accurate, timely, friendly or interesting — the most adept employees are always about to graduate. It’s probably not a secret that my newspaper isn’t well-liked by the Greek community on campus, much less the student government — both groups have been regularly criticized since I’ve been on staff.

But I was surprised when the Student Involvement and Leadership Center, the very same advisers who work with the greeks and student body officers, took us into their department — liability, debt and whininess included.

SILC not only saved my job, scholarship and newspaper, but the advisers and students involved in the various organizations within the office welcomed me and my staff with more kindness than I’m sure we probably deserved.

Attending the USC football game and 2014 Mountain West Basketball Tournament would have been considered unethical from a journalism standpoint, but it’s difficult to have a negative attitude when my own department advisers handed me a ticket, bus fare and hotel room.

That says a lot about what good people will do when others in need ask them for help. Even when those down-and-outers can be critics, pests and grumpy jerks like me.

Tavin Stucki is the Editor-in-Chief of The Utah Statesman. His articles have won awards and appeared in numerous news publications throughout Utah. Send any comments to tstuckinews@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @StuckiAggies.

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