NC State’s reputation as a leading STEM school in North Carolina often overshadows the diverse accomplishments and interests of its student body. Several publications on campus seek to combat this oversight by highlighting student involvement in the arts, uplifting student voices and experiences, and increasing awareness of different resources and opportunities on campus.
#creativestate, the official magazine of Arts NC State, highlights stories and events from all six arts departments.
“The number one [goal] is to tell the story of the arts programs on campus,” said Mark Tulbert, director of Arts NC State marketing. “The arts have a long history at NC State, and [#creativestate] was born out of wanting to increase awareness about some of the wonderful things that the arts are doing here.”
Because NC State offers no fine art majors, students of all backgrounds and disciplines are welcomed and encouraged to participate across all programs, connecting diverse groups through performing and visual arts.
“One of the things I love more than anything is to tell stories about how we connect with other colleges on campus,” Tulbert said. “With no arts majors, the word we try to get out over and over is that the arts are for everybody, and it’s been fascinating over the years to hear students talk about how being involved in the arts helps them process what they do in their academic programs.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has prevented the production of the past two semesterly issues but the arts programs haven’t stagnated in the meantime. Instead, they’ve adapted numerous performances and workshops to virtual formats through Zoom, digitized visual arts showcases and organized hybrid events such as drive-in concerts and outdoor performance pieces.
“There have been some cool silver linings [from the pandemic],” Tulbert said. “It’s been a challenge to translate the live experience into a Zoom screen, but we have learned some things technologically that we anticipate will be carried forward.”
FOCUS, the official magazine of NC State University Libraries, illustrates the ways in which library programs work to promote excellence in all areas on campus.
“It always comes back to connecting people with our collections,” said Chuck Samuels, director of publications and exhibits for University Libraries. “It's about getting students involved and engaged with the libraries early to promote success and make the most of their time.”
The publication, formerly named Bookmark, started in the early 1960s as a newsletter for D.H. Hill Jr. Library but has since grown into a full magazine published at least biannually, highlighting the broad range of events, accomplishments and opportunities that the libraries create.
Despite the pandemic, University Libraries has found creative ways to maintain students’ access to these resources, including online access to several workshops, providing personal librarians for first-year and transfer students, and Twitch streams to demonstrate resources unavailable for in-person student use.
According to Samuels, the library staff’s diverse educational backgrounds allow them to provide resources and information for all disciplines and interests, academic or extracurricular. The library is a staple of student development throughout their time in higher education.
“Nobody graduates from the library,” Samuels said, “But nobody graduates without it. It really is a key to student success in many areas.”
HerCampus NCSU is NC State’s chapter of the number one media site for college women, an online magazine written by and dedicated to women attending colleges and universities across the globe.
Roommates Isabella Castineyra and Hannah Moxey, both second-years studying communication, started HerCampus NCSU in August 2020 after discovering NC State was not yet involved with the site. Castineyra and Moxey now serve as president and vice president of the club, respectively.
After less than one full school year, the club has over 80 active members writing and editing several articles per week, covering topics ranging anywhere from internship application tips to a list of local animal rescue centers to adopt from.
“The goal [of HerCampus], in my mind, is to have the freedom to write whatever you want,” Castineyra said. “Inspiration can come from any aspect of life, and it’s important that girls can have an outlet to share that.”
The club is open to all women at NC State who want to share their thoughts on any topic.
“It is important that our membership is regardless of major,” Castineyra said. “We have engineers writing about fashion and English majors writing about politics.”
Though building the club has been challenging, particularly with no opportunities to meet in person, both Castineyra and Moxey found it rewarding.
“It’s been such a great creative outlet,” Moxey said. “And it’s also allowed us to connect with so many great people. It’s nice to be a part of something that allows girls new opportunities.”
HerCampus NCSU is active on Instagram (@hercampusncsu) and encourages women to become involved.
WolfTones is the department of Music’s semesterly magazine geared toward keeping alumni involved in and informed about events and stories specific to the music department.
“The magazine was designed as an engagement tool,” said Erin Zanders, marketing coordinator for the department of Music. “We wanted to build some community with our alumni to help them see their connection to the department by telling the stories of our students and our faculty and the alumni themselves.”
Zanders said she seeks out stories for the magazine in which she can highlight the work of students or showcase innovative projects and efforts from staff.
“Any time I can find stories that talk about technology or collaboration with other departments, those tend to be really interesting,” Zanders said. “I think one of the things that makes NC State special is that you don’t have to let go of your creative side in order to focus on science or engineering; there are opportunities for you to do both.”
The latest issue of WolfTones highlights ways the department has adapted in order to safely create music together. COVID-19 has posed unique challenges for music ensembles since technology limits the ability to effectively practice as a group. Even so, the department has managed to find creative solutions in order to preserve music, including the marching band’s “Thriller” video from the fall, and the Brickyard Broadcast Project, where the orchestra worked with University Libraries to give a virtual reality performance.
“What all of this has really demonstrated for us is how important music is to our students,” Zander said. “They’ve continued to make music a part of their lives and of their experience at NC State, and it’s been inspiring to see the really beautiful music they’ve created.”
Whether through music, writing, theatre or makerspaces, the promotion of interdisciplinary practices and authentic communication encourages students to grow not only as intellectuals but as individuals. The value that university organizations place on this holistic growth characterize NC State as a STEAM rather than STEM university, which is accomplished by promoting academic thought through the framework of creativity and connection.
“With such a big STEM focus,” Tulbert said, “We just want to bring that A into the equation.”