Memories of an old building on UniversityBy Mackenzie Brown | 04/21/2015 6:17pm
I’ve always feared writing this column.
I knew it was coming from the moment I accepted my first position at The Crimson White. The CW was different back then. A lot was different back then. For starters, the floor in the newsroom was sagging in the middle, so you had to be careful or your chair would roll away. Typically you could just set the wheels in the places where the tile was chipped down to the wood subfloor. In that newsroom you could just barely see the baby blue walls on account of all the posters (SRPING FEVER). Chances are a computer screen was playing Bill O’Reilly screaming about a lack of words or someone sittin’ at the Waffle House. You could never really pay attention to the editor-in-chief because Tia the Squirrel was visiting outside his office window.
I spent a lot of time in that building. I made new friends in that building and lost old ones. I ate a lot of Moe’s Southwest in that building. I learned the good and the bad about this campus in that building.
That building is gone but the memories it once held remain.
One memory in particular has stuck with me during these past four years. It was April of my freshman year and I was in charge of designing the paper that night. Our cover story was about former football players in a charitable paintball tournament, and I had spent a few hours working on a design that featured paint splatters over archive photos of Mark Ingram. I was pretty proud of myself. All of our designers were fairly impressed, as well. Once I considered the page done, I went to get Victor Luckerson, the editor-in-chief at the time, to approve. He took one look at the page and said, “Meh. I don’t like it. Do it again.” Then he walked away.
Crimson White staffers to this day will say they’ve never seen me madder. I stormed into Victor’s office with a printout of the page, told him I had just spent hours on this page and asked what I could possibly do different.
He said to me, “Mackenzie, this is not your best work. I know you can do better, so go do it.”
For the past few weeks, I had my mind set on the subject of this column. I’ve always told people that you can do anything if you “act like you know what you’re doing,” so those were to be my last words as a senior. But the truth is, pretending is cheating. I’ve pretended a lot over the past four years. I’m not really a journalist. I’m not really a public relations guru. I can pretend like I am, and I can act like I know what I’m doing, but really, I have no clue. Victor understood that we cannot pretend; rather, we have to work and push ourselves to be the best we can be.
A lot of things have changed on this campus since I came to school. We hired the first female president of an SEC school. Students from across campus, students I’m proud to call my closest friends, stood on the schoolhouse steps and said in one voice, “This is not how our University acts.” We have broken the final barrier and made it common practice for traditionally white sororities to accept African- American students.
We’ve seen a university join together as one after a tornado ripped through our town. We’ve seen an era of football unmatched since the time of Bear Bryant. We watched as the Machine accepted a traditionally black fraternity, but also lost a presidential race for the first time in 25 years.
Our university has grown and adapted and become better because of students. Real change on our campus comes from students who are willing to work hard and not be content with where they are.
Memories can guide us, but that old Crimson White building doesn’t define me. My job at the CW or the SGA or anywhere else does not define me. Pretending to be someone or something we are not can only get us so far. We are defined by our willingness to push ourselves forward and to be the best we know we can be.
Mackenzie Brown was the former Visuals Editor and Online Editor of The Crimson White. He is the outgoing Director of Media Relations for the Student Government Association.