Goodbye from the editor: To the Hill I love


Photo Courtesy of Glenda Burris

Lily and Nathaniel Burris attend the 2007 Christmas events at the Kentucky Museum.

Lily Burris, Editor-in-Chief

I have a confession – I grew up on this campus.

Not in a Gatton-student, here- all-the-time, Big-Red-onesie kind of way, although I’m sure I had a Big Red onesie, but I grew up here in a Bowling-Green-hometown, knew- DSU-as-DUC, took-prom-photos-here kind of way.

So many of my early memories are tied to the Hill. I sold Girl Scout cookies to the chemistry department when I was a little kid. My fourth grade science fair project took place in a chemistry lab when Ogden College Hall was the Kelley Thompson Hall North Wing. Many concert festivals in middle school and high school were held in Van Meter Hall. I took prom photos my senior year under the Gary Ransdell Hall front arches.

The cherry blossoms in the spring and the leaves in the fall have always been my favorite. I learned how to wave a red towel as a child. The endless soft-serve ice cream at Fresh was the coolest thing in the world. I practiced driving at night and on one- way streets here, sometimes using the parking lot by Preston to perfect those crucial skills.

When I started college, I had no idea what was coming my way. I lived in Minton Hall when it closed for mold. I was studying abroad in Denmark when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. I experienced personal loss for the first time in college. I got into the world of flirting and dating. I learned how to be myself a little bit more.

I also found my way to the College Heights Herald – a newspaper I once used as part of a collage for a project on the Odyssey in high school. As someone who was so scared when I started college that I would hate my major or I wouldn’t know what to do with my life, it was a relief when I fell in love with reporting at the Herald. My experiences helped me know this was what I was supposed to do with my life.

The first time my story was printed on the front page, my dad, a chemistry professor here, picked up a big stack of papers. They were in his office forever; those copies might still be there, honestly. One of his coworkers even laminated a copy of the front page for him.

To me, it was the coolest thing in the world to be on the front page of the newspaper, for a story I worked hard on to make on the front page.

By my next semester at the Herald, being on the front page wasn’t quite as amazing, but I still found it pretty cool. I did get more involved, eventually becoming an editor, and I wanted to work on the hard stories. At least, I wanted to work on the stories I thought were hard.

I used to argue with some of my friends who also worked at the Herald about who would be editor-in-chief one day. After I found out via Zoom call that I had gotten the job last spring, I popped over from my apartment to my dad’s office to tell him. I was so excited to do this. I practically tackled him when I got there.

Editor-in-Chief Lily Burris and Digital News Editor Debra Murray look at cover options for September issue of the Herald. (Photo Courtesy of Carrie Pratt)

I’ve always loved the Hill and made such good memories here. However, as I’ve grown as a student and a journalist, my questions for the Hill have grown. I’ve spent much of my time wanting to know why and how and what makes this, that and the other, okay.

Being a journalist for a place you love is kind of a weird thing.

While I was abroad, a friend I had made early on asked about what it was like to cover WKU when I clearly cared about it so much. Pointing out the flaws in something you love doesn’t exactly sound like caring about it.

I thought I would struggle for an answer.

But I didn’t. I said that I wanted to cover my school and look at what was happening there so maybe someone would see it and want to come take care of it. I wanted someone to see that WKU should be loved in a way that makes the people on the Hill happy and hopeful.

Since that conversation, I think some things have gotten better. I don’t think everything is perfect though. Those imperfections are what we hope to cover at the Herald, as well as the things that have gotten better.

I hope, despite all the things I’ve written about that don’t shine brightly on the Hill, everyone can understand that I love this place — and the Herald as students love it here too.

I love the way the cherry blossoms make Centennial Mall look like a rom-com set.

I love the ridiculousness of Big Red and his goofy dance moves.

I love standing at the top of Van Meter and watching the sunset over Bowling Green.

I love the people that have worked so hard to make campus a great place to be.

I love the fact that I’ve never met anyone who really understands what “The Spirit Makes The Master” means.

I love the fact that Fresh has never gotten rid of the soft-serve ice cream.

I especially love the College Heights Herald. I love it for all the friends it’s brought me, the memories I’ve made in the office, the opportunities I’ve received working here and to have luckily found a profession I love to do.

I would not be who I am today without the Herald and the Hill, and I love them both so much for it.

All my big red heart,

Editor-in-Chief Lily Burris

Editor-in-Chief Lily Burris can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @lily_burris.