In the two years since The Greenleaf Review transitioned from the helm of the English Honor society Sigma Tau Delta to being a creative classroom collaboration under Assistant Professor of English Joe Donnelly, the publication has seen the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Whittier College’s transition to the virtual module system, and, now, an uncertain return to campus life. The 2022 edition’s theme of “Gen Z: A Survival Guide” seems fitting given The Greenleaf Review’s own recent challenges. Submissions for the upcoming edition, “Gen Z: Survival Guide. Talking About Our Generation!” are due 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 27. The publication looks for student poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, visual art, photography, and journalism. Submissions to The Greenleaf Review will be considered for the annual creative writing contest (with monetary prizes).
The 2022 Greenleaf Review is led by fourth-year River Danner as Executive Editor, having participated in the class three years in a row. The 2021 Fiction Writing Competition first and second place winner, fourth-year Ariana Juarez, will act as Deputy Editor, alongside fourth-year Kim Tsuyuki. As per the last two editions, Donnelly, current Editor-in-Chief of Red Canary Magazine and co-founder and co-editor of the former Slake Magazine, serves as the faculty advisor of the classroom project. While Donnelly provides students with insight on magazine and journal editing (as that is the name of the course), the students shape The Review with their creative vision, look through submissions, and create the final print version of The Greenleaf Review. “Joe serves as the one who gives us a nudge in the right direction,” said Juarez. “When we aren’t sure about what to do, he’s the one who guides us in the right direction or facilitates the conversation when it’s awkward. He’s the overseer, but the students are meant to be the ones who get the ball rolling for The Review.”
For many students, The Greenleaf Review is their first experience working with a print publication. Danner came into the class with little knowledge and experience with editing but has served as Executive Editor for the 2021 and 2022 editions. Just as the Review provides a platform for student creatives, working on it has allowed Danner to explore new interests as well. “Growing up I was always a so-called ‘jock’ and was always outside and did not really think about taking time out of my day to write and edit, therefore these last three years have been eye-opening to me,” said Danner. “I found a passion for both writing and editing and hope to continue it for the rest of my life. It also provided me with a space to get out of the sports environment and settle into something completely different.”
However, for others, such as Juarez who is the Quaker Campus’ Deputy Editor and Tsuyuki who is the QC’s Arts & Entertainment Editor, there are still challenges that come with the class. “The last two issues of The Review had been done completely online, so I think, for returning students, [their experience has been] trying to learn how to adjust to being in person, and, for new people, it’s just trying to learn how to create it from scratch,” said Juarez. However, it is the unique challenges that Gen Z has experienced that inspired the theme for this year’s Review.
“For this year’s theme, we kind of wanted to stray away from what we did with the past two editions. [ . . . ] With this [edition], we wanted to be bold, to make a statement and take a stand. Most of all, we just wanted Gen Z to tell their stories;” Tsuyuki spoke to the inspiration ‘Gen Z Survival Guide.’ “We had to grow up with a lot of s—t, and I think it’s time we’re honest about it.” Juarez expanded on this inspiration, mentioning that Gen Z has not only experienced the COVID-19 pandemic, but was born and raised in a world that 9/11, American hegemony, and other issues globally influenced. “We wanted this [edition] to be focused on our own struggles and issues, and we wanted to make it something that a majority of Whittier students could relate to,” said Juarez.
The Greenleaf Review serves to be a platform for student voices and experiences. The themes “Whittier in 3D” and “Voices in Color” marked the past two editions of The Review. “I think The Greenleaf Review provides a sense of community to the campus,” said Tsuyuki. “It also provides insight on how their classmates view the crazy world we’re living in right now.” Perhaps, under the world’s current conditions, creating art is a bold statement to Gen Z’s survival. Danner believes this edition will be a chance to step away from being centered around COVID-19 and highlight other experiences that have influenced Gen Z’s life. “We have been a generation that constantly has to battle to work through challenges, so our staff made it our goal to display our resilience and how we have survived growing up,” said Danner.
Juarez and Tsuyuki have been featured in previous editions of The Review, and are now able to use their creativity to elevate the art of the campus community. “I’m really excited to be a part of making [The Greenleaf Review] this year, and I hope to have more students participate, both in and outside of the English department,” said Juarez.
Submissions to The Greenleaf Review can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a two to three-sentence biography and your survival tip for Gen Z. More information on The Review can be found on its Instagram (@thegreenleafreview) or the Sigma Tau Delta Instagram (@sigmataudelta). The Greenleaf Review Editorial team encourages your submissions. “[The Greenleaf Review] is a collection of all our voices, and each and every voice is so unique and demands to be heard. Our journal is just a vessel to collect them all,” said Tsuyuki.
Featured Image: Brianna Wilson / Quaker Campus