The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Lack of interest dims Spotlight

By Kaia Arthur

It was around this time every fall that students would begin anticipating the arrival of the Spotlight and editors would be putting the finishing touches on Macalester’s traditional picture directory. But this year, after no students applied to edit the publication and student government funding stopped, the directory will not be arriving in student mailboxes.

The Spotlight served Macalester students as a contact tool for over fifty years. The publication featured students’ pictures, phone numbers, and quotes, as well as an academic schedule and contact information for academic departments. Two paid student editors collected pictures and information during September, and the Spotlight was distributed to student mailboxes during the first week of November.

Over the past few years, interest in the Spotlight has steadily declined. According to a Mac Weekly article last fall, last year’s issue was indifferently received. No students applied for either of the two editor positions this year.

As a result, the Spotlight lost funding.

“The Financial Affairs Committee [FAC] did not want to allocate over $4,000 to an organization where we were not sure that there would be leaders to take over,” Ashley Neil ’07, former FAC chair said.

According to Véronique Bergeron ’07, one of the Spotlight’s two editors for 2005-2006, the Spotlight has previously had management problems resulting in temporary discontinuations that both marked and caused declines in student interest.

When in 2002 the Spotlight’s management did not release the directory until Spring semester, “students figured out they could get by without The Spotlight,” said Phil Chen ’06, Bergeron’s co-editor.

The 2005-2006 Spotlight was not released until December and began the year with no funding. According to Bergeron, the editor of the 2004-2005 Spotlight had not requested funding for the following year.

Now, most students rely on other sources for phone numbers and information about other Macalester students.

“I just use x6777 to get people’s extensions,” Samin Golestania ’09 said.

While students use Macalester’s online and automated telephone directories, the Spotlight’s largest competitor is Facebook, the online student directory. A common speculation is that Facebook’s popularity permanently detracted from the Spotlight’s appeal.

In a Mac Weekly article written after the release of the 2005-2006 Spotlight, Chen agreed.

“There has been decreased student interest in having pictures taken, and I think Facebook has a lot to do with it,” Chen said. “People don’t really see the need to come down and get their photos taken anymore.”

While the Spotlight provided only a small space for students’ quotes, Facebook allows users to post an almost unlimited amount of pictures and information. Facebook also features messaging and blogging capabilities.

When asked about the Spotlight, Ben Rabe ’09 answered, “I don’t even know what that is.” On seeing a copy, Rabe said “it pretty much did nothing that Facebook can’t.”

Even so, the Spotlight was a Macalester tradition that provided a cohesive, tangible representation of the college’s community, Bergeron and Chen said. The creation of the publication itself, submitting quotes and taking pictures, facilitated socializing between first-years and allowed old friends to reconnect.

“Let’s face it, everything’s available online now, but the Spotlight was something unique and fun,” Chen said.

However, the general student reaction is apathetic, and most are ready to move on.

“I felt that the Spotlight was going downhill, so I don’t really mind it being gone. No, I wouldn’t say I miss it at all,” Sonia Kharkar ’08 said.

View Comments (6)
More to Discover

Comments (6)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Y

    Yvonne QuinnSep 11, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    as soon as I observed this site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

  • V

    Victor PatersonSep 7, 2019 at 8:42 am

    Please upload new video lessons related to cooking if you have, for the reason that I desire to learn more and more concerning all recipes of cooking.