Mason Edwards

Mason Edwards stands proud against Chamberlain Pavilion. Wednesday, April 19, 2023

UTC’s Student Government Association (SGA) recently recognized various campus community members for their outstanding contributions over the past academic year with their annual Blue and Gold Awards, particularly focused on student accomplishments across multiple fields and disciplines. 

Among those students recognized was Mason Edwards, a junior in the communication department. Edwards was awarded under the category of Outstanding Contribution to a Student Publication due to not only his impeccable writing, but his dedication to the stories he tells. 

“I don’t even think I am fully aware of the impact that article made,” Edwards said, commenting about the article “Food Fight” he wrote in November of last year that granted him his win on Wednesday. 

“For me, it was just ‘okay, I put the words on the page’ and moved on with my life, but I remember walking around the University Center and hearing people talk about it which was like, really fulfilling in a personal and career experience.”

The article covered the story of Arka Musa and the University Pizza and Deli, a restaurant on Vine street which once was a part of Restaurant Row in the University Center.

"The craziest thing about the story was how I mentioned I talked to Auxiliary Services, " said Edwards. 

Edwards describes the conversation between himself and representatives of Auxiliary as harmless from where he sat, but that they were attempting to influence how he would write and frame the story with their exchange. 

In the end, the piece was published on Nov. 15, 2022. 

Features Editor, Madison Meadows and Assistant Features Editor, Caroline Colvin supported Edwards’ work in writing the story.

“We chose Mason to do the Aramark story because we knew that he was passionate about the whole situation,” said Colvin. “I wouldn’t say I was necessarily nervous because I knew that Mason had done all the right things to make sure we would report an ethical and factual story.” 

Colvin notes that after working with Mason for over a year, she is continually impressed with the outstanding work he presents weekly and how far he has come since starting in fall of 2021.

Meadows shared those thoughts. “When Mason began writing for the features section as a freshman, I couldn't help but notice his initiative. He always volunteered his time if we needed to cover a last minute story, and his devotion to the Echo was remarkable.”

“Watching him grow since the fall of 2021 to now has been really cool to see, and I'm honored to have been his Assistant Features and now Features Editor.” 

Having began his writing career the first week of his freshman year, Edwards has been able to hone in and refine his skills He regarded his passion for journalism not as something which comes from within him, but rather from the people around him that he is able to connect with in his writing. 

"I really don't look inward, because every person on this planet has something special and something unique about them, something that can be celebrated," said Edwards. 

"I am just beyond honored and beyond delighted to be able to find that and share it." 

This connection with others goes beyond talking with strangers, though. According to Edwards, after being told of his nomination he was over the moon with excitement. Edwards points to the people whose support and guidance have helped make his success possible. 

"I didn't get to give a speech at the ceremony, but if I had, I would have really just wanted to thank everyone who has helped me thus far," Edwards said. 

"Everyone from Maddie Van Horn, Madison Meadows, Caroline Colvin, Bethany Cothran, and Billy Weeks, to my high school yearbook people. All of them have helped shape me into the person that I am, and to be able to write at that ability that I can write."

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