Sil Time Capsule: a look back for future generations

Adrian Salopek
November 26, 2020
Est. Reading Time: 5 minutes

Sil Time Capsule is a new series that will continue to bring forward student voices

As we near the end of 2020, now is a good time to reflect, especially given how much has changed this past year. 2020 has been a rough year for everyone, but with its difficulties come opportunities for learning and changing, both within all of us as individuals and within our society. 

The COVID-19 pandemic remains the event that will define 2020 for years to come. The pandemic and its regulations have caused tensions, a shift across the board in education and different sectors to a virtual environment and rises in mental health issues due to isolation and other issues faced by many.

This pandemic has brought forth many challenges, particularly for students struggling to make the best of their youth amid a world of isolation and online classrooms. However, it has also highlighted pre-existing issues within our society, such as serious health disparities as a result of socioeconomic status. All in all, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has forever changed our world and how we experience it as individuals and as students. 

[/media-credit] Information from the City of Toronto, as reported by Jessica Cheung of the CBC


Next, there was the shooting of George Floyd and the rallying cry against anti-Black racism in North America and across the world. The Black Lives Matter movement, an existing movement against police brutality and anti-Black racism, shifted into the limelight, offering all a chance to reflect on their role in anti-Black racism.

The effects of this were far-reaching, with systemic racism being highlighted across our nation at an institutional and individual level. Beyond discussions on anti-Black racism, there was also a rise in the discourse regarding anti-Indigenous racism. The Land Back protests are a prime example of the important role activism played this year in sparking dialogue on inequities in our society. As students and as a student newspaper, it is essential these events are brought forth and discussed adequately.

[/media-credit] Black Lives Matter protests in Toronto, as reported by Laura Armstrong and Jacob Lorinc of the Toronto Star


Finally, there was the 2020 United States federal election. Although American politics can sometimes feel distant, this election caused — and will cause for the next four years — a shift in global politics and marked the end of an era in the United States and North America with Donald Trump as the President of the United States.

Additionally, given the close ties between Canada and the US, the repercussions and changes that will accompany the election and its results will be felt here more than in other countries. 

It is important to note the election, along with all other monumental aspects of 2020 mentioned thus far, was accompanied by a multitude of other important global events. These must — and will — be discussed in great detail in the coming issues at the Silhouette through both this series as well as through our Summer of Activism series in the News section. 

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As a student newspaper, it is important we discuss global events and how they affect us and the McMaster student community. Global events affect everyone in one way or another. COVID-19 is a global health issue but has left deep impacts on the lives of students. It highlighted important issues in our society such as the extent to which income and privilege dictate your level of health and protection. Students are not isolated nor removed from these realities.

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It is also important to discuss the many global events of 2020 as a student newspaper because these are in many ways mirrored by realities in our own community. For example, just as systemic racism and police brutality shifted to the limelight of national political discourse in the United States, realities at McMaster such as the anti-Black racism culture in the university’s athletics department were highlighted in a recent report.

As a student newspaper, we are responsible for informing our peers, discussing these issues and how they have affected our students. As global citizens, we are responsible for raising awareness of global issues, events and inequities. 

More than just being mirrored in our community, these events have also had a profound influence on our very sense of community.

More than just being mirrored in our community, these events have also had a profound influence on our very sense of community. Often exceptional and unprecedented events encourage stronger connections and drive communities closer together.

However, the nature of the pandemic has resulted in the opposite, with many students feeling disconnected and unsupported in these difficult times. As a student newspaper, it is important that we not only inform our peers and raise awareness about global events and issues but also that we do our part to maintain community and facilitate the connection between students.

Furthermore, this kind of coverage and engagement with global events is something that many, if not most, students are interested and invested in. During the Black Lives Matter protests at the beginning of June, the Silhouette posted a short message in solidarity, but we were challenged by our community to do more. Over the last few months, we have been working to deliver on those promises that were made and are continuing to look for ways in which we can improve.

Across all sections this past semester we have worked to ensure that we address and acknowledge these issues and events and their influence on our community. This article in particular serves as the introduction to a new series. Titled Sil Time Capsule, this series is an opportunity to reflect on this past year and draw attention to the ways in which it has affected our community as well as the wider world.

2020 has been an eventful and unprecedented year and as a student newspaper, we have a responsibility to acknowledge these events, inform our peers and raise awareness about them. We also have a responsibility to address the ways in which they have affected and influenced not only the wider world but also our own community. This time capsule series is one way by which we are working to do justice to the events and issues of this year and their influence on the communities big and small of which we are a part.


  • Adrian Salopek
  • Nisha Gill

    Now in her fourth year of Arts and Science, Nisha is the Editor-in-Chief of Volume 93. Her vision for the Silhouette this year is to highlight the effect global issues on having on students on the local community while also continuing to amplify marginalized voices. On the rare occasion she’s not in the office, Nisha can usually be found browsing book stores or in the kitchen.

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