Sophomore Sarah Carratt says that when she first came to LMU, she was amazed by all the opportunities the school had to offer. “Not surprised, certainly, but simply blown away by the quality and quantity of dedicated groups on campus,” she says. “I believe that it is incredibly important for students to find something they are passionate about, and our magazine is one of the many resources students have at LMU.”
The magazine she refers to is PASSION, LMU's student-run social justice magazine. The publication is headed by the Human Rights Coalition, an LMU student organization, and seeks to encourage members of the campus community to find their place in the fight for social justice. Carratt first got involved with the magazine last year as a copy editor. Now editor in chief, her responsibilities include overseeing and streamlining the production of the magazine.
The staff is made up of student writers, editors, photographers and designers, as well as the coordinator and moderator for the HRC. When putting an issue together, the team gathers to discuss issues current and relevant to the LMU community, brainstorms ideas for articles and then sends out a request for submissions. “As we get more of an idea of what students are addressing in their articles, we solidify a theme and begin to work on layout and design, all the while reaching out to community partners for financial support and creating buzz for the release of a new issue,” says Gabby Dematteis, HRC coordinator.
Junior Megan O’Malley, business editor, says while PASSION once focused on “reflection” articles, the magazine is now geared toward “action” pieces. “We are looking for stories that have social justice applications that we wouldn’t normally think of,” she says. “We want articles that challenge the campus in specific and relevant ways." Carratt says the most important thing they look for is the author’s own passion. “We want to see that students care about their cause and are interested in inspiring others to take action,” she says.
Dematteis says the goal for this year’s staff is to continue to produce high-quality issues and to expand its outreach. “We are now posting the magazine online and we have created a blog. We are also building more on our outreach through Facebook,” she says. In addition, the magazine is now funding its publication through advertising revenue. “This allows us to construct each issue at our own pace,” says senior Sean McEvoy, executive public editor. “Our advertisements all come from departments and companies that align with our values and mission statement of social justice and environmental awareness.” The magazine staffers themselves are unpaid.
Students are encouraged to submit articles to PASSION or contact the magazine to discuss other ways to get involved. Carratt says the staff will always find a way to incorporate an interested student’s talent. Freshman Tauras Vilgalys, a designer, says the staff is always in need of good writers, graphic artists and the like. “There are definitely opportunities for anyone, with any set of talents, to get involved,” he says.