Publisher’s Note: Welcoming Aaron Waitson

Hi, I’m Aaron—I like pigeons and cable knit sweaters, and have modeled far too much of my personality off cartoon characters.   

Seriously though, if I had told myself nearly five years ago that I would be starting this month as WLUSP’s new Executive Director, I wouldn’t have believed it. I don’t think the person I was back then would have ever had the confidence to accept that I was ready for a role like this one.   

That’s always been the funny thing about WLUSP, though. It’s filled with the unexpected. It’s challenging, inspiring and rewarding. It introduced me to some of the best people I’ll ever meet. I never thought I would become as passionate about this organization, its staff and volunteers and the communities we serve as I am today, but I’m so happy to say I did.   

The Community Edition is a special publication. It serves an important role in our community, helping to amplify voices and tell the stories of the folks who make the region of Waterloo such a unique place to be a part of. I have a lot of great memories about TCE that have not only helped shape my experiences during my time as a student but also as a person.   

When I started out as a volunteer, I had the opportunity to help with Steel Rails, which was every bit as wacky, mysterious and fun as all the enigmatic chatter around it had boasted. I ended the day exhausted, but I knew I would never forget that experience. There’s no one more enthusiastic about throwing the most kick-ass local party the region has ever seen than the team at TCE and we certainly succeeded each year we were able to host it.   

What I didn’t anticipate was just how much I would end up looking forward to it and how much I have truly missed it during the pandemic. Through all of the chaos and last-minute flurry of decoration buying and beer runs, it’s one of those events—like trivia nights and late-night productions—that have become such stand-out WLUSP memories for me.  

I was given the opportunity to take on the daunting task of contributing to TCE’s beautiful “If Streets Could Talk Series” during my first year as WLUSP President. It was a cathartic process that allowed me to immerse myself into the TCE writing process and I feel so lucky to have been able to supply my own piece alongside so many other thoughtfully composed stories.   

That’s part of what makes The Community Edition so particularly exceptional. One minute, I’m writing about the legacy of Taco Tuesday at Ethel’s Lounge and the next, I’m delving into the history of the street I’ve called home with my chosen family and unpacking the most personal parts of myself that I’ve ever shared publicly. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to not only support WLUSP, its student publications, staff and volunteers, but to be able to be part of a community newspaper (and the community it has built around itself) that I have looked up to for so many years now.   

I can only hope to help carry on the legacy of all of the wonderful Executive Directors before me, who taught me so much and managed to each leave their one-of-a-kind mark on WLUSP.    

I’m so excited to work with familiar faces, to meet new people and and to make new connections . I love this place and what it stands for and I want to help find other people who have as much of a passion for media, volunteerism, and this community as WLUSP has ignited in me.