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New year, new section

A letter from the editor

One of us is cuddly and loves food; the other one is a cat statue.

One of us is cuddly and loves food; the other one is a cat statue. (Photo by Naomi Page.)

By Anna Oelerich | Echo

Dear Echo Reader,

Welcome to campus, and welcome to the first Local & Indiana article of the year! If you’re a first-time Taylor student, you’re in good company—this portion of the newspaper is just as new as you are. Thus, I wanted to introduce my “beat” (as journalists call it) right off the bat so you can get acquainted with this new section. But first, a little bit of history.

During my first two years at Taylor, I spent most free nights driving around for the sole purpose of driving around. I felt I had fully exhausted the glories of Taylor’s campus and wanted to see what lay beyond its limits. Some had assured me Grant County was just an oasis of corn, punctuated every now and then by a fast-food restaurant that had surely only sprung up to accommodate hungry college kids. Anything beyond Wal-Mart or IHOP was no man’s land.

And yet, I drove until streetlights and the way back home were nowhere to be seen. I drove past crumbling houses, dingy discount stores and fences falling in on themselves. It became clear that even though I lived only a few minutes from these communities, I was completely unaware that they existed.

But even in what appeared to be a county wracked by poverty, the Lord opened my eyes to a beauty and sense of dignity. I even passed a cheery Garfield on my way to the ER at Marion General Hospital because the Lord has a sense of humor. There’s more to Grant County than first meets the eye!

At Taylor, we talk so often of community: how we can achieve it on campus and perpetuate it once we graduate. Yet I believe that while we’re here, our community extends beyond the borders of our university  and even the few places “downtown” that we frequent.

My hope for this section is to share the stories of our “extended family,” specifically in Grant County: the good, the bad and everything in between. My staff and I are thrilled to showcase the people, places and things that set our county apart.

In that spirit, I invite you to learn something new about your home away from home. Let it change you. And when your wing makes its first Love’s run, convince your driver to take the long way back to your dorm. It’ll be infinitely more rewarding than taking 69; I promise.

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