By Michael Stern ’17

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (March 14) – When I speak to prospective and incoming Merrill College students I always tell them, “If there is something you want to do at school and you don’t see a way to do it, then start it yourself.”

When I came into the school my freshman year I started getting involved with as many activities as possible, but it wasn’t until Justin Meyer, Kofie Yeboah and myself teamed up to start The Left Bench that I really began to find my place at Merrill. It started as a place to write about our opinions, but it has transformed into a home for more than 80 sports journalists at Maryland.

Nothing that we have accomplished at Maryland could have been done without the support of the Merrill College. Without George Solomon, we never would have branched out past the three co-founders. Without Dave Ottalini, chances are our name would not have gotten out there. Without Associate Dean Lorente, TLBTV would not be a reality. The support from the faculty of Merrill has been overwhelming.

Since coming to Maryland I’ve had the opportunity to watch multiple publications launch or expand. Whether it be the start of satirical news publications, the growth of digital publications such as Stories Beneath the Shell, Plex and Writers Bloc or the innovation of existing publications like the Diamondback, the entrepreneurial nature Merrill College encourages inspires me to continue to innovate. Because of this encouragement, with one semester left at Merrill, I launched a new political publication (Beltway Bulletin).

I tell young students, “Never stop.” In my four years, I have been able to innovate with fellow students and I truly believe we have been able to change Merrill for the better. During a time when it seems like being a journalist is a dismal lifestyle, it’s up to us young journalists to keep pushing forward.

Never stop believing in the power of young minds. That’s what I’ve learned at Merrill.