What’s in a name?

We looked into the history of the name Wesmen this issue, which involved some digging in the archives and poking around in history books. With all this talk of names and meanings, perhaps this is a good time to also start looking at what a Uniter is.

The first issue of The Uniter was published on Oct. 17, 1947. It’s billed as the “Official Organ of United College Students’ Association,” and the cover story is illustrated with a tidy little stick person and hand-drawn script. 

The first line printed on those aging pink papers reads “The UNITER--successor to last year’s REMINDER and previous bulletins.” It promises to reach newstands every Friday “barring calamities,” and that “A calamity will consist of breakdown of our mimeo machine, no paper, sick staff, final crumbling of the old building or any other such minor details which may delay publication for several hours.”

Though I’d think a crumbling building would deserve more than a few hours’ delay, it seems that the 1947 staff of The Uniter were as doggedly determined to put out a paper as we are today, though our aims may have morphed into a different shape. And – thankfully – we no longer have to rely on a mimeo machine, though our modern computers do have their own snarky temperaments. 

We are no longer the organ or mouthpiece of any organization, rather, we’re governed by a board of directors under the Mouseland Press. Our name may have derived from that of the college we were serving, but I’d like to think that it’s taken on new meanings today.

If a uniter is a force that brings people (or ideas) together, then it seems that our name is as appropriate today as it was in 1947. Our goal is not to tell the stories of a small portion of Winnipeggers, or of those on campus, but to bring together a wide range of viewpoints and perspectives. 

While we may not always agree, in these pages we can explore those ideas and issues that could bring us together or divide us, and through respectful dialogue, hopefully see that in the end, we’re all in this together.

Published in Volume 71, Number 4 of The Uniter (September 29, 2016)

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