Senior Emily Collette wasn’t sure how to respond when Harbinger advisor Kris Somerville asked her and Junior Emily Marchant to be co-editors of this year’s award-winning student literary journal at Stephens.
After all, Collette is a documentary film major, not an English/creative writing student. Prior to this year, she didn’t even know other majors could be involved in the Harbinger.
“It was unexpected,” she said. “I hadn’t thought of it. At first, I was doubting myself.”
But she accepted, remembering that saying “yes” to unexpected opportunities even while in doubt is a mantra at Stephens championed by President Dianne Lynch.
And, of course, the leap of faith is paying off. Collette and Marchant say the leadership opportunity is improving in other areas.
“My experience with Harbinger is giving me a lot of confidence in class, in school and in my schoolwork in general,” Marchant said.
Both women—who are currently enrolled in Somerville’s non-fiction writing class—say they are also learning skills that directly tie to their respective majors.
“It’s definitely helping my script writing,” Collette said. “Kris always tells us ‘show, don’t tell,’ and that’s been a huge help with my senior film project.”
Tracing its roots back to the 1960s, the Harbinger is an annual publication that features poetry, short stories, fiction and interviews written by Stephens students, regardless of major.
Marchant, an integrated marketing major, had a short story published in last year’s edition, “Bombshell.”
One advantage of having editors who come from disciplines other than English/creative writing is that they can better reach out to all students, Collette said, noting that others likely don’t know that the award-winning publication is open to everyone.
Right now, the Harbinger staff is in the process of soliciting submissions for the 2014 issue, which will be published in the spring. There are six drop boxes located around campus for students to submit their works, and Harbinger staff members are also visiting classes to get the word out.
Entries are due Dec. 6. Then, staff members will spend the holiday break reading submissions and will reconvene in the winter to select the best. That’s when the theme for the 2014 edition will emerge.
“We want the pieces to dictate the theme,”Marchant said, “not the other way around.”
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