Ariel back in business

Vanessa Weller

Plagued with financial troubles in 2003 and facing low staff numbers the past three years, Ariel, Lawrence’s yearbook, is looking forward with a new system of organization. Under the direction of Justin Severson, the quality of the 2006 edition of the Ariel, as well as the staff size, are slated to increase over the next few years.
Ariel staff membership has dropped in numbers since the 1980s, the all-time low occurring last year when Justine Reimnitz became the only official Lawrence student on the staff. This led to the abandonment of the 2005 yearbook, which will eventually be completed by Reimnitz as per the contract Lawrence made with Jostens, the yearbook publisher, in 2003.
This year’s staff of 14 is quite an improvement over having just one staff member. However, these 14 students began the year as new members.
The yearbook traditionally begins planning for the next year during third term. Since there was no staff last year, the current members had to essentially start from scratch with a one-term handicap.
“We set tangible goals for ourselves this year,” said Severson. “For example, during second term we had the student portrait project. Our goal by the end of the term was to have photographed 75 percent of the student body. We accomplished that, and will hopefully stay on schedule until the end of the year, and have this year’s edition at the activities fair next year.”
Due to entirely new membership, Severson established an organizational system this year that abolished the “editor-in-chief” aspect that the yearbook has had in the past. The new system divides all the duties of an editor into five equal positions: business director, photography director, layout, copy editor and operations director.
With the editorial staff of Dominique Gougis, Giang Bui, Dumdum Thuong, Erin Ober and Davis Hudson, Severson hopes to make Ariel an organized, creative student publication.
“A lot of students have a negative attitude toward yearbooks,” Severson added. “It’s kind of a high school thing to a lot of students. Most freshmen and sophomores don’t know it exists and most upperclassmen know the yearbook from its past failures, so very few are inclined to buy a yearbook.”
The Ariel has been free to all students since 2003, and it will be no different this year, as opposed to the cost of $40 per book that had previously been the norm. According to staff members, providing the yearbook for no charge is bound to increase interest among students.
This leads the Ariel staff to believe that “Good Times” are on the way, which is, coincidentally, also the theme of the 2005-06 yearbook.