From Journalism to Activism
Our relationship with the publication world began earlier than we had anticipated. I've written since I was ten, and it was no surprise when almost all my friends were somewhat related to or interested in writing. There is a redunant saying that goes something along of how morning shows the day - and quite indiscriminantly, all of our founders ended up being writers of some form or the other.
However, as a collective mass, we shared a different relationship with Star Campus. At a glance, Star Campus would seem like a platform where one learns about the happenings of the minds and worlds of the young people. But working with them for many years teaches you more than that. They're not just reporters watching from the sidelines; they're catalysts of evolution amongst the young.
At the One Degree Initiative Foundation, we worked hard but often didn't get to tell people about the work we do. That all changed in a very rags-to-riches-thanks-to-a-benefactor kind of setting, when rather than having to beg for an article on one of our projects to be published, the Editor of Star Campus actually called us to meet with her. We were blown away. This gave way to various articles on cycling and its benefits over the next few years, and the rest, as they say, is history. Star Campus took an interest in a cause and built it up to a point where people started taking more interest in it, transforming journalism to activism.
Over the years, Star Campus grew by leaps and bounds, as did the readers and in our case, the volunteers. Where once the readers were grabbing the latest issue with articles on how young minds were changing the world (or trying to, anyway), they're now being featured in it for their own initiatives. This incredible ability of a publication to not only limit itself to telling the story, rather become the story and inspire more stories is what truly made our relationship with Star Campus very special.
In retrospect, our founders being writers of some capacity has led us to sharing a soft corner for publications, especially those that cater to the young, the spirited, and the unheard. Star Campus evolved into that voice, that open microphone, that attentive listener who could take visions forward. So, whether we were calling for a cleaner world, riding towards independence or changing the world, byte by byte, Star Campus has been with us thick and thin, and we can't help but wonder who will be our next friend, colleague and mentor all in one like Star Campus has been over the years!
(Sabhanaz Rashid Diya is a graduate from the Department of Media and Communication at Independent University Bangladesh, and founder of the nonprofit youth organisation, the One Degree Initiative Foundation.)
The people behind the magazine represented the new generation of Bangladeshis. They showed us that there are young, bright people in Bangladesh, who value public service and are committed to working towards a more inclusive and just society. I would like to thank several of the Campus staff members, to whom we at BYLC owe a great debt of gratitude. And while space does not allow me to thank each and every person individually, there are a few who cannot go unnamed. To Shahnoor Wahid, the former editor, I am beholden to him for his support; not only did he attend our programs, but also he was one BYLC's earliest proponents, always offering encouragement and advice. We have been fortunate that Shahnoor bhai's successor, Elita Karim, has also been a kind friend to BYLC. To her, I would like to express my deepest thanks for her friendship; she has given us not only space in her pages but her time as well, running workshops on writing for our participants and speaking at our programs. And of course, I am deeply grateful to the many talented journalists who have worked at Campus over the last few years, including Mahdin Mahoob, Sara Z H, Tabassum Mokhduma, Ridwan Karim and Sumaiya Ahsan Bushra.
And so, while goodbyes are sad, they also provide us an opportunity to step back and reflect on the journey we have shared together. We at BYLC have been privileged to have been a part of the Campus journey. While the form of the new Campus column will be new, the spirit will remain the same. We eagerly look forward to it, and all of us at BYLC wish them all the best on their new initiative.
(The author is the founder of BYLC and the recipient of the Rising Star award from Harvard Kennedy School.)