The Rotaract Club has always been the go-to space for networking, social service and community building within the walls of our university. Parallelly, the Editorial has been a haven to express one’s thoughts, troubles, happiness, and perspectives on a variety of issues whilst maintaining the public image of the Rotaract Club of the University of Colombo, Faculty of Arts. Individuals are given a space to express their creativity in all forms through the Editorial whose scope broadened in the preceding year.
The Editorial was able to reach unimaginable heights during the year 21/22 which laid a solid foundation for this year and the years to come. The yellow brick road that was paved for us is a culmination of the dedication, creativity, and immense stress induced months of our preceding Co-Editors Rtr. Vibhath Jayasinghe and Rtr. Janidu Wijebandara, to whom we owe much, especially ice cream and a lunch out. During their tenure, the Editorial was able to reach 130 publications, which was a first in its history. Additionally, the blog was revamped with a new interface and features which you can access at www.rotaractarts.com. The list of milestones continues, but most importantly we can safely conclude that their greatest accomplishment was inspiring amateur writers like us to express our thoughts, creativity and to be unafraid to say what we think. It is with this momentum that the both of us have been motivated to accept this mammoth task and follow the yellow brick road; one that is filled with new faces, obstacles, and successes for the Editorial of 22/23.
When the two of us were initially notified about our appointment, the foremost question that loomed ahead was ‘how could we continue the legacy that our predecessors had worked so tirelessly to achieve? The path had already been so carefully laid out, what could we possibly improve upon? How could we add value to something that was already great and make the Editorial our own? It felt like trying to perfect the perfect fudgy brownie. Before we proceed to elaborating on our vision for this year, we believe it would be apt, for the two of us to introduce ourselves. While the task of introducing ourselves to a few people on zoom was easy enough, the prospect of introducing ourselves to potentially (and hopefully) hundreds of viewers online has been daunting, and being the humble beings that we are, we couldn’t possibly go on a long rant about how awesome we were, and thus, we’ve each decided to introduce the other. Rtr. Shihara Ferdinando – aka the only human who can juggle a million things at once; she has strange napping habits, funny insults, and an increasing number of secret admirers; the phrase ‘walking encyclopedia’ was coined specifically for her. While she might appear scary at first, she’s really a big sentimentalist like the rest of us (maybe even more so), just make sure you never touch her collection of Tintin comics! Rtr. Tharini Ratwatte – aka queen of paranoia and attention to detail is definitely as innocent as she looks, who has a tendency to sound like Dory from Finding Nemo. Contrarily, should you choose to stir her up in the wrong direction, her comebacks can really question your life’s choices. If you really want to be in her good books, firstly, get her a good book (pun intended) and secondly, get her an assortment of chocolates or anything that has an unhealthy amount of sugar. All in all, if you want to bribe the both of us, get us good quality chocolates! (Notes to Gethmi and the rest of the team).
After many long calls and embarrassing screenshots of each other during meetings, the question of how to make this year’s Editorial our own and unique was solved. As your incoming co-editors we decided to continue and expand the culture of constructive critique, feedback and openness which are values that were instilled within us by our previous editors. We believe that this enables our writers to navigate their journey both within and outside university with greater ease. This will now be combined with an overarching sense of inclusivity. The prospect of being inclusive was something that we felt was important to uphold especially in an eco-system that is diverse in many ways. For diversity to sustain, inclusivity must exist. Therefore, the Editorial will be expanding our scope as we go trilingual for the first time, which will also ensure greater freedom of expression. Additionally, quality before quantity is a principle that has always been followed here at the Editorial. We want to ensure that each publication reflects the standards of the Editorial that was set at its inception and is also able to reflect an individual’s best work. A constant that this year’s Editorial will uphold undoubtedly is creative freedom, which will create an environment where people can express themselves freely and, in any language, thus creating a getaway of sorts. We look forward to publishing not only articles, but short stories, poems, art pieces and many more.
While the details of the exciting new projects we’ve been cooking up will remain secret for the time being (we do need to retain some sort of mystery, don’t we?), you’ll be glad to hear that two of our previous columns will be returning. Both, Month-in-Review, and the State of the Blog will be continued by the Editorial for 22/23 with its own little twist. In keeping with our theme of inclusivity, both segments will be made trilingual. Additionally, we’ve also decided to continue the previous year’s publishing days i.e., Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. All artists do meet their creative blocks however, which is why we’ve decided that publication may sometimes be limited to twice, instead of thrice a week. On such occasion, our dear readers would be relieved to note that the Editorial will be publishing on Wednesday and Saturday.
Achieving the aforementioned goals is indisputably going to be a challenge for the both of us and the team. This year the Editorial team comprises more than 50 individuals whose work we look forward to reading and publishing. Parallelly, maintaining that momentum and consistency is a hurdle for many reasons. Academic activities are still held virtually and Sri Lanka is facing a crisis that neither of us have had to endure before. Therefore, keeping ourselves in good health and in-check must be the foremost priority of us all. Despite all these hurdles, we are optimistic and determined that as a team we will be able to tread through this together. Supporting each other or simply checking up on each other from time to time will go a long way.
Bearing the above in mind we are truly excited for everything that is in store this year. Here’s to a new chapter, a new journey along the yellow brick road. Who knows, maybe we will follow it, maybe we will stray, but either way you will meet the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!
Rtr. Shihara Ferdinando | Rtr. Tharini Ratwatte
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