Yearbook Staff Creating A More Professional Publication

The yearbook committee is following the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's guidelines.

The yearbook committee is following the Columbia Scholastic Press Association's guidelines.

The 2009 Olla Podrida yearbook staff is making award-winning memories this year.

The book, which focuses on the theme, “Expressions of Memory,” is adhering to the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s award guidelines. Since 1935, the CSPA has sponsored annual contests to honor best practices in student writing, editing and yearbook publishing.

“In the past, our yearbooks have been more like scrapbooks of students’ senior year, but this year, we’re more structured and we’re creating a more professional book,” says the yearbook’s editor-in-chief Luz Burgos ’09. “We’re building a new foundation so yearbooks after this one will constantly improve.”

The 2009 yearbook editors.

The 2009 yearbook editors.

The Olla Podrida has 13 paid staff members who oversee an additional 20 writers and photographers. Together, they’ve upped the number of pages from 144 to 176, gone from 32-color pages to full-color, changed their publishing company and added numerous articles, new headings, and a reference section. They’ve also developed a strong marketing team that’s enthusiastically selling advertisement space to parents, alumni, vendors and local merchants. The team is currently advertising the yearbook sale in postcards, a banner in Usdan University Center, a website and on a newly-created Facebook group.

“The staff this year is covering more topics, from history to theater, to get good story lines and show how diverse our student body is,” says Lisa Hendrix, Wesleyan Student Assembly coordinator and yearbook co-advisor. “We’ll have photos of thesis presentations and expressive candids. Our old yearbooks were generic, and we want to step it up. This yearbook is really going to have some substance.”

In years past, less than half off all seniors purchased a yearbook. This year, the marketing team is determined to sell at least 400 to the approximately 742 Wesleyan seniors. They’re also marketing the book to parents and faculty.

“The yearbook used to be targeted at just seniors, so we’re trying to get rid of our previous limitations and broaden our audience,” says staff photographer Johnny Tan ‘12. “Our audience will praise the level of professionalism of this yearbook.”

The staff encourages all seniors to be photographed for the yearbook, free of charge. A photo shoot will be held in Beckham Hall April 20 and 21. More information is online.

Although the staff photographers snap between 150-200 photos at each assigned event, photo editor Jennifer Mackie ’09 encourages the Wesleyan community to submit their own images – either portraits, group/club events or candids – to the yearbook staff for consideration. Students can upload images through their e-portfolio. Others can send photos to the general Olla Podrida e-mail account at:

“We are setting a new precedent and we want the entire Wesleyan community to participate. This is your yearbook and we want you involved,” says Ben Kaplan ’09, the yearbook’s marketing assistant manager.

Other members of the yearbook staff are Matias Seijas ‘12; Alison Kung ‘09; Jordan Collins ‘09; Evan Coleman ‘09; Matthew Lamothe ‘10; Anayeli Lombera ‘09; Abigail Major ‘11; Ben Kaplan ’09; Katerli Batista ‘09; Ian Johnson ‘11; Trent Grassian ‘09; and Jennifer Mackie ’09. Candace DiCosimo is the co-advisor and Scott Norris is the publisher with Herff Jones Yearbooks company.

The 2009 Olla Podrida is $60 and can be ordered online.

“This is going to be a book that makes you appreciate the times you had in college,” Kaplan says. “In five, 10 or 15 years, you can open this book and relish the time you had at Wes.”