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Everyone has opinions. It’s a fact of life, human nature, for us to form our own ideas about the people, places and things that surround us and occupy our thoughts. No two opinions are ever exactly alike, and each is filled with individual nuances that reflect the person it belongs to.

That’s why I think it’s great that there is a place where people get to express their opinions. Sure, you can rave to your roommate, your cashier or your great aunt Sue all you want, but there is nothing like the pages of a newspaper to elevate the power of a single voice.

That’s one of the most important things about the press: It gives a voice to those we might have otherwise not have heard. And while it serves many other important functions as well, from informing our democracy to providing us with entertainment, it also offers a very public way for us to share our thoughts and feelings with others.

I want this section to be a place where anyone, journalist or not, is able to speak up and have their voice heard. We live in a democracy, a place where our freedom of speech is a guaranteed right, and it is one we should utilize to its fullest extent.

One thing that the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee is agreement; there are some people who are not going to like what you have to say. Because we are all individuals who have been shaped by different experiences in our lives, we have opinions that can sometimes clash with those of our neighbors. And that’s OK.

You might not agree with everything that is published here. In fact, even I don’t agree with everything we print on these pages. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to let someone write for this section. Controversy is a great way to spark debate, to open minds and hear new ideas. I would never take an opportunity like that away from anyone, especially not the students and staff here at UCF.

I’m inviting you all — freshman to senior, faculty, alumni, any and every one of you — to write for this section. If you have an opinion, something you feel so strongly about that you want to shout it from the rooftop, send me an email. Don’t be afraid if you’ve never written something before. I will work with you every single step of the way.

There is one thing, however, that I ask of everyone who writes for the Central Florida Future. Your opinion must be backed up with credible, factual information. While I want to hear your input on controversial issues, I don’t want this section to turn into printed heresy, where anyone can say whatever they want without proof. This is not a place for attacking or disparaging someone or something baselessly. But, if you do the research and provide the facts to back up your arguments, then there is absolutely no reason why I would not publish your work.

So pick up those pencils and flip open those laptops. That itch that’s been bothering you; it’s finally time to scratch it. If you’ve got something to say, we’re all ready to hear it.

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Deanna Ferrante is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @deannaferrante or email her at DeannaF@centralfloridafuture.com.

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