Preserve the Bobashela

by Catherine Arjet

opinions editor

The Millsaps yearbook is in real trouble this year.  Since its first publication in 1905, Millsaps has published the Bobashela every year except 1915, 1918, 1935 and 1980. However, due to a lack of student staff, and a budgeting rearrangement that left the Bobashela without an advisor for the past few months, it’s looking like 2017 may be joining that list of years without a yearbook. Up until a few weeks ago, this wasn’t really something that bothered me. I hadn’t bought a yearbook during my first three years here, and while I was planning on buying one this year, I figured if it didn’t happen I’d always still have the memories preserved on social media sites.

Recently I was hanging out with some friends when one of them found her three yearbooks, dating back to the 2013-2014 school year—our freshman year. She brought them out and we began passing them around. I’d seen this yearbook at the beginning of my sophomore year, but so much time has passed since then and so much has changed that I’d forgotten about.

We spent a good 20 minutes exclaiming over the yearbooks. Yes all of those photos are available on Facebook, but having them all together in a scrapbook-like form made it so much more accessible. There were photos from events I’d forgotten about, featuring people I’d long since lost touch with. If I wanted to see all of those photos of all of those events and people, I’d have to hunt through hundreds of social media profiles, something I’m not going to do for fun.

Having it all laid out makes it feel like an encapsulation of the year. Plus, who knows what kind of social media we’re going to have 30 years from now. When I uploaded way too many awkward middle school pictures to Myspace, I thought I could easily come back and find them, and while I’m honestly kind of glad I never have to relive those days, what if the same thing happens to Facebook, Instagram, dropbox or apple’s iCloud and I lose my college photos?

Besides the sentimental appeal of a yearbook, it also provides jobs and leadership skills for students. Countless hours go into making the perfect layout, making sure everyone’s name is spelled correctly and taking and gathering photos. All of these are viable hours for students. The editors and leaders of the Bobashela get large levels of experience, which they can use to apply to jobs when they graduate. They’re publishing a book and have to deal with printers, advertisers and other professionals. For students who want careers in publishing, this is an invaluable experience.

Fortunately, publications board advisor Stan Magee remains optimistic that the year book will be published this year. He is now in the finial stages of hiring a new advisor for the year book and says that many students have applied to work on it once advisor is on board. Some student photographers have even taken photos at events that already happened that would be missed from the yearbook. Hopefully this means that we will in fact have a 2017 yearbook.

For the good of students now and after we graduate, we need to recognize that the Bobashela is an important part of Millsaps. While digital photos and social media may seem to eliminate the need, nothing is the same as the traditional yearbook.