Fancy-pants papers like The AS Review can afford a paid staff and a color cover, but not everyone has those luxuries.
Some people get academic credit or a small amount of AS funds to put out an independent publication. Other people publish zines with a lot of hard work and a pocket full of change for the copy machine.
“Whenever you have students engaged in liberal education, it's a very important, empowering lesson to students that they can speak, and they can speak in public,” Fairhaven professor and Fairhaven Free Press adviser Dan Larner said. “Even if it is a modest effort.”
The Fairhaven Free Press first started publishing in 2004. Everyone at the paper works together to write, take pictures, and distribute it, Larner said.
“It's edited and produced cooperatively,” Larner said. “There are many hands involved…everybody pitches in.”
The Fairhaven Free Press is also an independent study group that Fairhaven students can earn credit for, Larner said.
“The students who do it seem to really love it,” Larner said. “They're dedicated to it.”
Every year, the Women's Center produces an issue of “Labyrinth,” a publication with poems, personal narratives and fiction pieces.
“It started off just being a place for women writers,” editor Sarah Lloyd said. “But now it's gender inclusive. It's a place for any expression of womanhood or feminism.”
The Women's Center has archived issues from 1991, but Lloyd said she spoke with one former Women's Center coordinator who said “Labyrinth” was published even in the seventies.
“It's been around for a while,” Lloyd said. “It's just been kind of under the radar.”
“Labyrinth” is an important part of the Women's Center because it provides a medium for people to express themselves, Lloyd said.
“We can do as much programming as we want and we still can't capture everyone's voice,” Lloyd said.
This year's issue of “Labyrinth” will be released April 3 in the VU Gallery, Lloyd said. There will also be a downloadable audio version on the Women's Center's Web site with readings of select pieces, Lloyd said.
Although the independent publication business is sometimes about giving a certain group of people a voice, it can also be about bringing a large, diverse community together. Western student Anjali Kusler is currently working with a group of her friends to put together a zine about Bellingham houses.
“We're thinking about what makes a town an awesome place to live,” Kusler said.
Kusler is collecting stories from people about what goes on the places they call home. For example, residents of a house on 24th Street host live folk concerts and have a cider press for making apple cider.
Other houses to be featured in the zine include “The Ghost House,” home of members of the band Ghost Dad, and the house on Champion Street behind the taco truck, which is home to members of local metal outfit Piano Mover, Kusler said.
According to Kusler, Western students are represented through campus publications, but high school students and non-students do not have as much of a voice.
“Bellingham needs more of a variety of alternative media,” Kusler said.
Lots of other people are working to create a diverse print media. Cameron Harsh of the World Injustice Awareness Club said he is planning to put out a zine by the end of spring quarter. Contributors will submit a one page write-up about an issue they have researched about social injustice.
The Ally Building Network is also working on an anti-oppression zine, said Casey D. Hall, an active member of the Ally Building Network.
“We want to compile these stories of privilege and oppression on Western's campus in one space that's easily accessible,” Hall said.
The Ally Building Network is looking for poetry, diary entries, short stories and visual art.
“We want to accept any medium of expression that can be put on paper,” Hall said.
Students can give bring their submissions to the Wellness and Outreach Center in VU 432, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for submissions is March 14.
If students are interested in starting an AS club for their publication, they can contact AS vice president for activities Aaron Garcia at (360) 650-3463.