The COVID-19 pandemic has required many people, groups and entire industries to adapt to a time with less human interaction. Windhover, NC State’s annual student-run literary and arts magazine, has had to do the same while also dealing with the fluctuating changes made by the UNC System Board of Governors and university administration.
Windhover Editor-in-Chief Xenna Smith, a fourth-year studying communications, said last year, the staff ran out of copies of “Windhover LIII.” However, this year she is concerned about how many copies of “Windhover LIV” they will be able to hand out. With Chancellor Woodson’s announcement on Wednesday, Aug. 26, that a majority of students living on campus will have to leave the residence halls, distribution could be even harder than anticipated.
“The books came in about mid-April, peak quarantine time,” Smith said. “They sat in Student Media’s office for a few months until we could get around to distributing them. I knew that I had an obligation to the artists to get the book out in some way in April, like they were expecting to before coronavirus.”
The issue arose when Smith and her team had to figure out how to easily distribute a book to students who weren’t on campus and easily accessible. Smith felt the best answer for the time being would be to publish the book online on Issuu on April 16. Other Student Media publications post on Issuu including Roundabout, the Student Media Business Office and, formerly, Technician, so this was not unheard of.
“We decided to really push an online version of the book through Issuu,” Smith said. “A lot of publications who aren’t lucky enough to have a print budget use this platform to publish their work, so I knew that it would be a great way to get the book in everyone’s eyes as soon as possible.”
Smith and her team, like many other students, saw the looming cloud of a campus shutdown, and knew they had to work fast in distributing the print copies when school started back this year. According to Smith, “Windhover LIV” was placed on every newsstand on campus, and the Windhover Instagram account, @windhover_, is used to let people know where they are replenishing copies if they run out.
Smith encourages students to pick up a copy from a newsstand before they leave campus. If you are immunocompromised or not on campus, Smith said Windhover is looking into mailing copies to those who can’t get them in person.
The campus shutdown may not be the only thing Smith and her team predicted. According to Smith, the book’s design, which was picked long before COVID-19 was a household name, fits well with this moment in our lives.
The cover features lines of a topographic map, while the inside very much resembles a scrapbook, and that was for good reason, Smith said.
The design was influenced heavily by the Roman numerals of this volume, Smith said. The team wanted their book to focus on life and living as the Roman numerals LIV look similar to the word “live.”
“We liked the idea of focusing on where we are in our life, whether that is geographically or chronologically,” Smith said. “The cover has topography because we wanted to convey the idea that we are all somewhere doing something and that, in itself, is significant. The whole book is basically a scrapbook of artistic expression and organizing that through stages of life.”
Smith said work will soon begin on “Windhover LV.” According to the publication’s Instagram, submissions for the 2020-21 Windhover are open. Windhover accepts all mediums of art and all stages in an artist’s career.
“The people who look at these submissions are very passionate about that medium and they know it very well,” Smith said. “They can tell when someone really put their heart into something, and that’s really what we want to see.”
Smith encourages students who are interested and are immunocompromised or unable to come to campus to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to request that a copy be mailed to them. Furthermore, follow the publication on Instagram for updates in this uncertain time.
*Editor’s Note: Xenna Smith is a member of Student Media.