one of my projects was realised this week. sorta.
i’ve been wanting a student newspaper at ultimo tafe for a long long time. drooling over other tafes’ modest versions, sighing over the universities’ established media collectives, prolificness (Word spellcheck says it’s a word!) and independence.
we decreed it to happen at a board meeting a couple of months ago. we decided it would be monthly, a single A4 sheet to start with, folded to A5. we listed the content we wanted; mostly ads for the services we provide, a calendar of events and a callout for people to get involved. i didn’t care about the ads for the first edition, but i pushed hard for what i really wanted – a format, a schedule, a precedent. sam, a staff member, was to do the work and the board would authorise the final version before it was run off on the association photocopier in time for the first week of second semester.
i saw the first copy on tuesday. it looks like a leaflet, but competent and informative. at first i compared it to a well established broadsheet, but then i remembered it was pretty fantastic for a bureaucratic and stagnant tafe campus. bright yellow. there weren’t many copies, but they were working on it.
today there was a stall being set up to advertise legal aid and the like, and music and games on the grass. i ran up to the office to grab a handful of papers, and found eight. printing more was impossible without permission and allison had just left the office. lu didn’t have the file on her computer. what i brought back was slapped on the table, half underneath a bigger leaflet, with the entire title covered. to save it from the wind. she didn’t
it was also impossible for me to duck in and make up a poster, print it out and stick it up. the stall had nothing but a few unexplained stacks of leaflets, and there was certainly nothing to celebate the launch of our inaugural newspaper, but the answer came back, on all fronts, as ‘students aren’t allowed to use the computers’. students? i’m the president. how would me making a poster lead to a flood of students and viruses? apparently it would. next board meeting…
i flirted with the idea of braving the systems of the library computer room and printers, which i haven’t needed to use since ten years ago and may have changed a touch, but i probably would’ve had problems getting tape after that. i settled for taking a bunch of papers, which had by now materialised thanks to our overworked staff member who really shouldn’t insist on doing work i’m offering to do for free, and distributing them to the people loitering around the games.
it was fantastic! i’d forgotten how good it can be to get over that social barrier and approach people. i only gave out a dozen papers, but almost everyone i approached was friendly, interested, impressed, looking forward to seeing the next edition bigger and better. i got feedback, from ‘it’s got a calendar, i’ll keep hold of it’, ‘gym open day? i’ll be circling that’ and ‘do i have to be a member?’ to ‘what do you offer’, ‘what do you need’ and ‘how can i contact you?’