Sitting down to write this letter feels kind of like entering the Avatar State. No, not that Avatar. Not the new one either. I’m talking about that generation–defining (and vastly better!) animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Pretty much, our reincarnated protagonist can call upon the skills and knowledge of all his previous selves, pictured as an line of blue spirits stretching out to the middle distance. In my lineage, there’s Emily and Bea looking over my shoulder, then Tamsyn, Annabelle, and before them the predecessors I know only by name—Nick Joyner, Orly Greenberg, Emily Johns.

In the wake of a few fitful COVID-19 pandemic years and one seismic switch to glossy paper, Street is a much different beast than it was when many of them were at the helm. But getting to this point wouldn’t have been possible without the strides each incarnation of Strexec has made. I’m grateful for all the work they've done, and honored to be able to write the next chapter of this legacy.

We like to joke now that I was “dirty rushed” into Street—a fresh–faced music writer standing in for my high school best friend. Things picked up speed, and suddenly I was running for editor–in–chief as a sophomore, forgetting I'd turned 19 until 30 minutes after my birthday because I was waiting for a decision from the elections committee. It took a merciful extra year to get here, and in the interim I’ve had the chance to write cover stories that mattered to me and interview one of my favorite musicians ever.

Something tells me I’m not the first one who, in selling my soul to The Daily Pennsylvanian, realized what I want to do with my life. The signs were all there, of course. Throughout high school, I molded my music taste in the image of Pitchfork. In my dalliances with becoming a chef, or a fashion designer, I was always more concerned with ravenously hoovering up copies of Saveur and Vogue than I was actually learning how to properly chop an onion or operate a sewing machine. But Street is where it became obvious.

Psychologists say we spend a pretty hefty portion of our conversations with others establishing the dynamics of our relationships—I don’t remember the specific numbers, but it’s a lot more than you’d expect. That’s kind of how I think about Street, and why it matters so much to me and to so many of our staffers: we’re writing about style, and music, and arts, but really we’re writing about ourselves, and the way we relate to our city, our campus, our identities, and the culture we’re surrounded by. 

And for anyone who’s spent time walking down Locust Walk with your AirPods set to transparency mode, you know that many of the conversations happening around us all the time are about one particular kind of relationship. Which brings us to the theme of this year's Love Issue. If you couldn’t tell, the issue is about sex. Why? One, it’s hot. Two, Oscar Wilde’s law. But really, it’s because sex is so much of the stuff of being a college student. We talk about the sex we’re having. We talk about the sex we’re not having. We talk about the boy who asked us on a date to Hummus Grill, of all places.

Because this is a version of Street that isn’t afraid to talk about the things that are really on our minds as Penn students, as Philadelphians, as young adults growing up in this fast–moving, oversaturated era. Whether that’s the lives of college sex workers, the very best hookup jams, or personal essays that ruminate on sexuality, connection, and intimacy, we’ll tell it to you exactly like it is. Now all you have to do is read.