My introduction to the Gavel came from then-Features Editor Cal Greene in September of my freshman year. Cal was a senior, which was terrifying enough for a freshman, but more importantly he was tall and loud.
“What dorm are you in?”
“Cushing? It’s on Newton.”
“Well now you better be at our first meeting, or else… I know where you live.”
He was joking, maybe. Instead of risking it, I joined the Gavel from the get-go.
If you are reading this, you are familiar with the present day Gavel—a daily online campus news source and print magazine that is forced into your hands every month by a group of jolly weirdos on the Quad. You are probably not familiar with the Gavel that I joined back in 2011.
Well, that Gavel was a nerdy little startup. The staff could be counted on two hands. The magazine was not a magazine at all, rather a two-fold paper that left ink on your clothes. The newspaper was not widely read by the student body. In fact, no one knew who we were or what we did. The Gavel was once even referred to as “BC’s literary law magazine,” by a particularly creative and uninformed SAP tour guide as he lead a group of rubbernecking high schoolers past our Quad day.
And that Gavel was definitely not cool. Comments on the site were demoralizing and friends used the paper for Christmas wrapping. In many ways that Gavel was like a dweeb younger sibling that I had to defend from unwarranted bullying on the playground. Sometimes you wanted to join in on the name-calling, but in the end you loved the little brat.
Thankfully, brats grow up. Three years later the Gavel has outgrown its awkward stage.
Boston College has a reputation for churning out entrepreneurial ventures and, in my opinion, the Gavel is one of the best of these BC-born companies. Helping to develop Gavel Media Inc.--the 501 © (3) nonprofit behind the publication--with a group of driven peers has been the most rewarding experience of my college career. Watching the magazine succeed has been an added bonus.
The Gavel has been on the forefront of online campus journalism since it was founded in 2009, allowing us to reach thousands of viewers with each article. Switching to a magazine format allowed us to rethink our content strategy and focus our target audience. Last summer we rebranded our image on campus by redesigning our website and logo. Our staff has exploded to roughly 150 passionate students, increasing by over 500% since my freshman year.
And damn, has this all been exciting to watch.
This semester I have had to watch from the sidelines in Amsterdam where I have been studying for the past three months. The progress made in my absence has been amazing. New series have garnered praise from the students, the administration and the alumni. New writers have joined the ever-expanding Gavel family. New “bang” shirts have been ordered.
The possibilities for the Gavel have been limitless so far, and the future is looking bright as more and more underclassmen join our staff. Our managerial board is stacked with talent heading into the 2014-2015 school year— Managing Editor Katie Levingston, Online Manager Christie Merino, Print Manager Taylor Garrison and Head Copy Editor Teddy Kolva. Our editorial board has many returning faces, and the Editorial Assistants have found permanent homes within the ranks of our content sections. Despite this excess of skill, as I look ahead to next semester it’s hard not to feel a bit panicked at the thought of losing our senior staff to the “real world.”
Many of you have been with the Gavel as long as I have, if not longer. You are the Gavel to me. You’re the reason I didn’t quit my freshman year and the reason I was fine with spending 20 hours a week in layout my sophomore year. The effort you have poured into this organization for the past three years is appreciated more than I alone could ever express, but I will try anyways.
To our Managing Editor, Jillian Timko, thank you for being a constant. Your dedication is unwavering, whether it’s missing a Strip Mod performance for a meeting or basically sleeping in the CTRC during layout.
To our senior content editors, Geena De Rose, Kenny St. John, and Bill Stoll, thank you for helping define your respective sections as the Gavel expanded. Thank you for all the last minute articles and laughs over the years.
To our senior copy editors, Katelyn Crowley, Michael Natalie, and Lauren Gray, thank you for being meticulous when the rest of us were not.
To our video manager, Lauren Rever, thank you for all your imagination and patience. I swear someday we will buy a new tripod.
To our business directors and marketing director, Aruem Shin, Taylor McEldowney and Leah Huang, thank you for doing the behind-the-scenes work and helping us become a recognizable name on campus.
To our senior Staff Writers, thank you for bringing your skill and humor to each article.
To our Editor-in-Chief, and one of my best friends, Jenna LaConte, thank you for being a crazy mentor for me and every other member of the staff. Boston College needs less “normal” and more weird, so thank you for helping the Gavel fill that void. You have made BC a more authentic place. The Gavel and I have gained so much from your presence as a guiding force on the board.
I will miss you (here is where I started crying while I wrote this) so much.
Lastly to our readers, thank you for sticking with us through the growing pains. Whether you are coming back to us as a student or an alumnus, the Gavel is your Boston College magazine. We will continue to serve you as the progressive student voice on campus. We will continue to tell the stories that are relevant to your life as a member of the BC community. We will continue to overuse the word “bang.”
We have big plans for next year. I hope you have high expectations.