Tropos and Ariel face funding crunch, publication perils

Jonathan Isaacson

Campus-wide budget cuts have effected two Lawrence University student publications. Both Ariel, the school’s yearbook, and Tropos, a literary and arts publication, are working with budgets less than what the student groups determined was necessary for production costs. Lawrence University’s yearbook has a long tradition of publication. For over a century, Ariel has been chronicling people and events at Lawrence. Ariel editor-in-chief Justine Reimnitz says this year’s yearbook will not be as elaborate or creative as she would like. “We had to make lots of sacrifices,” she says. One example Reimnitz gave was that the 2003 yearbook, including the cover, will be printed in monochrome to save on printing costs.

Originally, Reimnitz envisioned a different end product, commenting: “I would love to be able to include 48 pages of color.” For the budget to accomplish what Reimnitz wishes, Ariel funding would require a substantial increase. Budget constraints are one of two problems for the production of the school’s yearbook; the other is understaffing, which Reimnitz says is the larger problem.

Reimnitz also cited the apathetic attitude she feels many Lawrentians hold towards the yearbook as problematic. Reimnitz acknowledges that some yearbooks have been “a waste of paper,” but Reimnitz says she is trying her best to put out a quality yearbook. Reimnitz said that the yearbook organization has received scathing emails that end with the statement, “Make it better.” She says she replies politely, including a suggestion that they could help to make it better by getting involved.

Lack of involvement has been a problem at Tropos in the recent past, but editors hope it won’t be a problem this year. “Tropos is planning this year to produce one major publication at the end of the year called Tropos 2003,” John Gale and Emilie Walgenbach, co-editors, wrote in an e-mail. Tropos has not appeared on campus the past two years for financial reasons and lack of content.

Gale and Walgenbach described getting submissions as, “a small uphill battle,” that has contributed to the lack of Tropos magazines for the past two years.

While they hope to receive enough submissions to put together a publication, they stated that publication will be limited by a tight budget and outdated technology. In their e-mail, the editors commented, “Tropos is about $3,000 short of reaching the print cost estimated from previous years.”

While Gale and Walgenbach are confident that they can cut costs enough to publish, the problem of working on six-year-old computers remains. With these computers, they say, “We cannot see ourselves publishing a high quality magazine for much longer.”

According to Reimnitz, student publications serve an important function on campus. She thinks that people should get involved with student publications and stresses the need for writers, photographers, and graphic designers, if the standards of the Lawrence community are to be met.