The power of the written word is something I often discuss with friends, acquaintances and strangers — anyone who will listen.

Not everyone needs to be the most proficient writer but people must write and write well. It is why Eastern has focused its effort for the Quality Enhancement, it is why employers place such a high emphasis on written communication and it is why I would like to see more independent contributions to The Progress.

I honestly find writing to be one of the most difficult things I do on a regular basis, but the challenge of writing generally yields rewarding results when the finished project is published, graded or reviewed. The sense of accomplishment for completing it is nice, but taking in unique thought processes, ideas and conversations and is what really makes writing worthwhile.

With regards to the raging gun debate, I know how I feel and where I stand on the issue, but it is fascinating to read about the varying schools of thoughts and digest data about the topic.

More than that, I understand I don’t know everything about the issue and I can learn by reading other’s opinions. I may still believe what I believe, but I cannot be truly informed by insulating myself in my own ideas.

I am slightly biased but the media, particularly newspapers, is a great place to expose oneself to new thoughts, ideas and perspectives. If you look at The Progress, we lack divergent opinions that foster debate and enhance the quality of a university setting.

We have good writers, but our writers cannot possibly represent the thoughts of the greater campus. We need students, faculty and staff to participate with more than just news tips, press releases and suggestions.

Some of the better papers in our state and region receive submissions from concerned community members, educators, politicians and the like. Why does The Progress have to be different?

I would love to see 20 letters to the editor every week or five column submissions discussing relevant current events and major issues. I would love to see what is happening in the Student Government Association (SGA) from the president’s perspective or for administration to give us a better idea of institutional challenges and what students need to be doing. Those are the kinds of things that make the paper more about the reader, something we need at Eastern.

No one is served if we keep quiet and don’t share what is going on around us, both factually and what we perceive. Rather than sheltering ourselves in a set of beliefs, we need to bounce our experiences off of one another and The Progress should be the best place to do so. It may help us fill space in the paper, but more importantly it will help fill space in your minds.