By Suzanne VanHoever
At the University of Wisconsin-Superior, there are many groups, clubs, and organizations for students to be a part of. One of them, the Nemadji Review literary journal, gives students a chance to publish their own creative writing in a journal of collected works from the community.
“We provide a forum for students to publish their own original writing and visual artwork, sometimes for the first time, in the company of professional writers and community members,” said Julie Gard, the adviser to the journal and a writing professor at UWS. Gard explains that the journal is made with student and community effort.
The staff of the Nemadji Review reaches out to the community for submissions and then chooses the works that best fit into the journal. Part of this selection process involves picking submissions that fit the message that the editorial staff wants to send out to the community. The staff examines how the works are “related to artistic value, relevance, inclusivity, etc. Once works are chosen, decisions are made about sequence, presentation, and design,” explains Gard.
This year, the Nemadji Review has added to their editorial staff. One of the new members is Malita Villamayor, who joined the Nemadji Review last spring. Villamayor has been at UWS for two years studying as a writing major.
She first became interested in the Nemadji Review because it was in danger of disappearing due to a lack of members. “I really like the idea of having a journal available for UWS students and the community, so I originally got involved last year to make sure that would still be possible this year. If people have stories to tell, then why not make sure they have this opportunity to tell it?” said Villamayor. She recently became the secretary and treasurer for the group. She also hopes to gain experience as an editor, in case she ever chooses to pursue it as a career.
“I also just wanted to be a part of some organization while I was in college. I’m not really great at putting myself out there and meeting new people, so getting involved in extracurriculars is my go-to tactic on that end. It’s also a good way to do something beyond just sitting around at home,” said Villamayor.
The journal has had to make some changes since last year. Due to challenges related to COVID-19, the journal has moved to an online publication. At first, there was trouble with communication, but things have changed as the semester has progressed. As Villamayor noted, “The pandemic’s been a bit of a downer, but it hasn’t stopped anyone. We’ve been able to have online meetings pretty consistently for the past month now, and I don’t think that’ll stop any time soon. We’re all ready and raring to go.”
The Nemadji Review has been published annually since the 2011-2012 school year. “We will be publishing our 10th issue of the journal this coming spring,” said Gard. In past years, there has been a journal release party in the spring. This year, due to the pandemic, the event may have to be an online Zoom or Facebook livestream event. “The main disadvantage will be that attendees will need to provide their own cake,” said Gard.