When students think of publications associated with Augustana, most think of the school newspaper, The Mirror or the yearbook, Edda, but another publication coming to the forefront of students minds is Venture, a publication a little more underground and unconventional.
Faculty advisor for Venture, Patrick Hicks describes the relationship as such, “If Mirror is the focal point for news and Edda is the focal point for capturing the history of the university as its happening, Venture documents the literary output of the students of that year.”
Venture is a student-produced literary publication that features poems, short stories and fiction written and submitted by Augustana students. The publication not only accepts written submissions, but other visual art forms such as photography and paintings.
Each spring the process of producing Venture is set into motion with vigorous promotion by the editing staff. Co-Editor Olivia Verdick says the strategy for getting the word out relies heavily on emailing, hanging posters, speaking to classrooms and, more recently, the incorporation of social media such as Twitter.
Before spring break students submit their work either online or through a campus mail box and wait for a letter informing them if their work has made the cut.
Meanwhile, submissions are sent out to professors selected as judges for each category, who will then sort through each submission and rank them. Last year’s record-breaking number of submissions brought in over 600 works of poetry, fiction, short story and photography.
Verdick said the team this year will be making an effort to include more submissions in categories such as editor’s picks, a place for submissions that were well-received but did not make the judges’ cut. The team will also try to include some of the visual pieces ranked right below the cut, allowing more students work to be recognized.
“To me it’s all about showcasing the diversity on campus in terms of art, and I think a lot of times art isn’t valued as much as it should be on campus,” Verdick said. “This is an opportunity for us to raise money for that cause and showcase everybody’s talent.”
This year’s theme for Venture is ‘Reflections,’ which Verdick interprets as art being reflective of people’s identity.
“Last year our theme was unity and diversity so we want to continue that idea of diversity in people’s reflections,” Verdick said.
But whether students are writing, submitting or editing, Venture provides an invaluable experience for every student involved.
“For me it’s really exciting to see students go through the process of submitting their work for publication, waiting to hear if their work has been accepted for publication, and then ultimately getting to see their work in print,” Hicks said. “For many students this is the very first time that their creative work has been published and that is a very important step for someone if they’re serious about their writing in the future.”
The editing process is intense as students work through April, editing content and working with the graphic design to create the finished product. The edition is then released during May with a launch party open to all students.
For both editors and students whose work is published, this is a significant and memorable event, allowing them to see their work presented in an official, Augustana affiliated publication.
“Still to this day I love that moment of opening a book and seeing my work in it, its addictive,” Hicks said. “And hopefully there are students that maybe they get published in Venture for the first time and they like that addiction and they want it more.”