The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Staff Editorial: Saying goodbye to the Clubhouse

3 min read
Three female presenting students sit in chairs at computers

Problems with banner registration make it difficult for students to get the classes they need. | Jess Kirby, The Weekly Ringer


This edition of The Weekly Ringer is coming from our new layout space in the communication and digital studies building at 1201 William St. Known as the “mansion,” it’s located up the street from where we have been creating the print edition of the paper for years: our beloved Clubhouse. Every Wednesday, almost all of us would meet up in the Clubhouse at the UMW Apartments to finish editing and create the print layout that would be printed the next morning and delivered across campus by the afternoon. We’ve had late nights, staff bonding, birthday parties and breakdowns. 

The Clubhouse has seen this newspaper go through two name changes, endless staff rotations and tearful goodbyes to and from graduating editors. It held endless history, including print editions of The Bullet—the name of the newspaper from 1922 to 2014—from the 1960s and onwards that always provided great entertainment while we sat waiting for a response from a writer or source. The walls held a mix of the newspaper’s various awards right next to drawings done in crayon, perfectly capturing the balance of seriousness and fun. The past few rotations of editors had printed pictures of their pets for the ‘pet wall’ hung above the news layout computer. Above the life section computer we had printed some of the first comics the current staff received. 

Everyone currently on staff accepted the building as it was, mysterious stains, floral wallpaper, holes and all. A couple of years ago we even framed the biggest hole in the wall. But when conditions started to worsen and editors began feeling sick after spending hours in the building, we alerted the university that something was likely wrong. 

An inspection by facilities revealed that water was seeping in from the outside of the building, leaving black and brown discoloration on our walls, chairs and belongings. While we’re not sure if this was mold, we had to consider the safety of our staff and ultimately made the difficult decision to leave our Clubhouse behind. 

Because the Clubhouse is built into a hill and three sides are underground, the water intrusion caused damage about 4 feet up on the walls. This means our Clubhouse will be undergoing severe repairs: trenching out the hill, sealing the outside walls, and the damaged portions of the inside walls. We are so thankful that our wonderful faculty advisor Sushma Subramanian and CDS department chair Anand Rao found a new space for us so quickly, allowing us to continue publishing as planned.

“As much as I will miss being in the Clubhouse, I know that moving was the best choice for our newspaper long term,” said Weekly Ringer Editor-in-Chief Jess Kirby, a senior communication and digital studies and sociology double major. “It makes me sad to think of the Clubhouse being torn apart with these repairs, but I am very thankful that the school is taking action to repair the space and make it safe for student use in the future.” 

This past Sunday, Sept. 25, we packed up everything we had accumulated in the Clubhouse over the years. We found letters addressed to The Blue & Gray Press, AP Style guides from 1998 and old technology we hadn’t seen since we were kids. One of our news editors, Callie Harkins, even found a copy of UMW’s yearbook, The Battlefield, from her mom’s graduation year in 2001, and we all gathered around to see the pictures. 

With heavy hearts, we say goodbye to the Clubhouse and give it our thanks for housing us through so many long layout nights. Now, we embrace our new space and work on creating history for future generations of student journalists here at UMW. 

This staff editorial was led by Josephine Johnson.