by Adria Walker
Since 1905, Millsaps College has produced the Bobashela, the campus’ yearbook, every year except 1915, 1918, 1935 and 1980—during which the United States was involved in World War I, World War II and the Iran-Iraq War, respectively. This year, due to an initial lack of an advisor, campus-wide budgeting changes and lack of staff, there were concerns as to whether or not 2017 would be added to the list as a year without the Bobashela.
Stan Magee, director of publications , has been involved with Millsaps’ publications since 1994. “I had been pretty much playing the role of an advisor [to the Bobashela] for about 1 5 years… in addition to my overall administrative position as the advisor to the advisors,” Magee said.
At the end of last school year, Magee decided that he could no longer continue his volunteer advisory role, so he and Dean Brit Katz, dean of students , made a budget request for the 2016 and 2017 year that included hiring an advisor. “[The business office] didn’t give [approval for this new hire] until sometime in late September or early October,” Magee said.
Due to this delay in hiring, Magee and the yearbook staff have had to deal with a few unexpected challenges.
In previous years, prior to the start of school, Magee would have a workshop in which he would train staffers and they would begin working on the yearbook. But, because there was neither an advisor nor a staff this year, this training process did not happen.
“Also it meant that a number of people who might have been on staff from last year had to go find other jobs because of financial realities. They need part time jobs and they [have] other things,” Magee said.
Even with the delays, Magee is confident that the yearbook will be produced this year. “We solve problems,” he said. “We have been taking pictures, we hired some students to do that, and there are picture sources we can get, like the communications department for things we missed at the beginning of the year.”
Millsaps’ yearbook is a fall delivery book, meaning that the book for the 2016-2017 school year is not delivered until fall of 2017. Because of this, Magee says that there is time to complete the publication of the book during the summer.
Magee’s dedication to the production of yearbooks is not something he happened to fall into. “I’ve been involved with yearbooks since I was in high school. I was yearbook advisor when I taught high school for years and I taught journalism workshops around the country. When [a student] designs a page in a yearbook, they feel like they have provided a unique service to the school, but it is also something they will look back on,” Magee said.
Jessica Fitzpatrick, coordinator of campus life, was appointed as the new yearbook advisor this fall.
Because of the way social media permeates day-to-day life, yearbooks can sometimes be considered antiquated or unnecessary. Magee dispels this belief. In his time working with yearbooks, Magee says that there have been many fads people thought would replace yearbooks, including video tapes, CDs and DVDs. “When you want to find yourself in a yearbook, it’s pretty easy… When you have a video that’s a compilation that’s six or seven hours long, how difficult is it to find yourself? And then, we see the technical problem—those medias go away. Already, there are people who think, ‘Oh, I’ve got pictures on my phone.’ But then they never get around to cataloguing or editing those pictures,” Magee said.
Fitzpatrick, too, thinks that there is value in having a college yearbook. “Yearbook can seem high school or something, but… you’re probably going to remember all the people here that you’ve met and having a yearbook is a really great way to remember all of these people and the memories that you’ve had,” Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick is working to put together a yearbook team for the Spring semester, including students with whom she has already begun working. “First year students are extremely excited about working with the yearbook which is really great, so I’m recruiting a lot of them and asking them what involvement they’d like to have with it,” Fitzpatrick said. She encourages students who are interested in joining the yearbook staff, regardless of their previous experience with yearbooks, to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the delays, the yearbook is behind on sales. Magee and Fitzpatrick are confident, however, that they will be able to rev up the yearbook sales next semester. “We’re looking to do something to get more people to buy the yearbook and we’re really open to any suggestions or thoughts,” Fitzpatrick said.
Students interested in purchasing yearbooks from previous years may still do so while supplies last. “We don’t have an unlimited number [of yearbooks], but we do, every year, order some extras and we have them on the shelves in the storage rooms. Every year, we get some request from people even 10 or 15 or 20 years ago [to purchase a yearbook],” Magee said.
Students interested in purchasing the yearbook from the 2016-2017 school year, can expect to do so next semester. “Think long term, there’s a lot of things in life that [students will] spend 50 or 60 or 70 dollars on that they’ll never see again, and the yearbook they’re still going to have on their shelves 20 or 30 years [from now],” Magee said.