Unaffiliated, Uncompromising, Unbothered

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by The Rival American Editorial Board

Four score and 69 student publications ago The Rival began as a humble network of independent student journalists at our less politically active neighbor, George Washington University. Luckily, five years ago a group of students at American University got together and launched this campus’s own chapter of The Rival network, infinitely improving the brand as a result.

We started out small, producing absurdist videos, articles and other content on our website while developing one of the best Twitter accounts (our moms think so too) in the country. Over time, we’ve grown as a newsroom, and this semester we’re proud of our large staff of talented people, new and old, whose work you’ll be seeing soon.

Unfortunately, our publication grew up in a troubled time. Despite being the age of a toddler, we’ve been forced to strike out on our own and find a new source of funding.

Look, we get it. We’re known to be a little immature at times. Who isn’t? But beyond that, we pride ourselves on being an independent voice for the student body. We don’t take money from the university’s administration, and we don’t spend our time covering petty politics when most students are facing far more pressing issues than student government. 

Our investigative reporting into Aramark broke the story about the former dining services provider’s improper ties with the university, which aided in the termination of their contract this spring. Our Pride Week submission drive generated a massive response, and allowed us to understand and share in not just the struggles of fellow members of the queer community, but also their joys. Our satire has taken on subjects from Maria Butina to Wonk Culture and captured the mood of the campus over and over again. We did all of this without the institutional connections and clout of other student publications, and quite frankly, without funding.

We write, we poke fun, and we investigate because we care. We don’t do this for resumes or portfolios but because we are compelled to point out the joys and absurdities of college life. And we’re independent because the only people we want to answer to are our readers and the disembodied ghost of former president Neil Kerwin.

So join us. Spare some change, if you’ve got it. If you can get us the funds, we promise to produce more of the content that you love, or at least content that makes you think. If every undergraduate at AU donated 69 cents, we’d have about $5,000 to spend. With that money we could maintain our website as well as invest in multimedia equipment and merch. We are the Rival American: Unaffiliated, Uncompromising, Unbothered.


The Rival