It’s election season. In an ordinary year, Eastern Avenue would be a joyous gauntlet of bright-shirted campaigners. But this is not an ordinary year, and scrolling through Facebook-based campaign content has replaced strolling through a campus at its annual peak of activity. Some say the lockdown will prove the coup de grace to a dying campus culture. I’m not so sure. The very first edition of Honi Soit in 1929 asked if readers had noticed that “the University spirit is dying.” Either campus life has been dying a drawn-out death for the last century, or catastrophism and despair are more common afflictions than most realise.
Student politics is a strange beast. Juliette’s feature this week (p14) offers a library’s worth of stupol stories from the past, but suggests that in many ways, despite its weirdness and occasional whimsy, the world of stupol is often cruel, and inaccessible to those who lack the privilege (let alone the stomach) to enter it. Honi has an important role to play in it, and you can find our SRC candidate profiles on pages 7 and 8. But it remains an insular place, and as Vivienne’s reflection on Rooty Hill (p16), Shania’s labyrinthine dreams (p17), Ryan Lung’s article on coffee across cultures (p19), or Mahmoud Al Rifai’s exploration of Western Sydney and Spider-Man (p20) remind us, there’s a far wider and more textured world to be found beyond our Camperdown Campus.
Nevertheless, it’s still somewhat unnerving seeing your successors coming up so quickly behind you, ready to take hold of a wheel of which you are not yet ready to let go. As our term ends, it’s hard not to look back and consider whether we accomplished what we set out to do.
The editorial of that 1929 edition (“Why We Publish ‘Honi Soit’”) is as close to a manifesto as a student-run rag can have. It lists five aims for the paper: “To strip the veneer, to open the cupboard on our skeletons, and those of other people, to tell the truth without fear or favour, and to assist our readers in their search for the Touchstone of philosophy — happiness.” As editors we have sought to stay true to all five but if we have, in any small measure, achieved the fifth, I can think of no better measure of success.
Finally, I remain first and foremost a proud member of 2018’s Pictures of Spider-Man for Honi. Despite narrowly coming third in a disputed election behind Spice for Honi (1,978 votes) and Informal votes (952 informal votes), I have not forgotten the ticket’s eponymous pledge. I hereby honour that promise: