Tagged: nicholls state

Storm chasers, colonels, and a president who could draw

Superb cover from Dickinson, for an interesting cover story by Lauren Davidson about a couple of artists named Todd Arsenault and Ward Davenny, who chase storms not for science or adrenaline, but for art. They drive thousands of miles in Tornado Alley, take pictures, shoot video, talk to people, then go home and produce art influenced by what they have witnessed. (Davenny’s art is on the cover.)

“This subculture of tornado chasing was something we had no idea about,” Arsenault explains. “There’s this whole subset of people who are obsessed with these storms. A lot of people can’t even verbalize why they’re drawn to it: It’s a quasi-religious experience for them, and they leave work and travel in convoys or caravans. And it’s interesting how they can clash with the scientists sometimes—it’s what they call a convergence when everyone descends on the same storm at the same time, and it gets dangerous. And this was before reality TV, so after that started, it just got totally out of hand.”

Davenny nods and adds, “What’s interesting about the subculture is that we then became part of it. People would see us and say, ‘Oh, those guys are the artists.’”

Found another entry for my list of alumni magazines with quirky names: The Colonel. This one is published by Nicholls State University in the splendidly named Thibodaux, Louisiana, and Nicholls State’s sports teams are known as the Colonels. (I’d like to see this catch on, if only to begin receiving The Banana Slug from the University of California, Santa Cruz, The Fighting Camel from Cambell University, and The Eph from Williams College.) Nicholls State also publishes an annual magazine with the assertive title Voilà! Stephanie Detillier edits both.

I have a well-documented low tolerance for stories about university presidents, past or present. So when I saw by its cover that Occidental had a feature on past president Remsen Du Bois Bird (which, I’ll concede, is every bit as splendid a name as Thibodaux), I groaned. But the story—a series of journal entries made by Bird during the 1928-29 academic year, is a pleasant surprise. Not only are some of the entries entertaining—”Miss Hutchison reports that Janet Hoit, taking some mother with her daughter through Orr Hall, received this statement from the same mother: that the daughter was registering at Occidental because all the better colleges were full! In the words of Nehemia, ‘Oh God, strengthen thou my arm.'”—but Bird illustrated is own journal, and some of the drawings are great.

UMag inbox

Until the Fall 2012 issue arrived in my mailbox yesterday, I had no idea that the annual magazine of Nicholls State University in Louisiana was exuberantly named Voilà! Because I am easily amused, I spent a few enjoyable moments imagining myself doing a story for it, announcing myself at the reception desk of an academic department as “Dale Keiger from Voilà!” with a dramatic flourish of the hand. Here are some other alumni magazines with quirky names:

Aurora (University of Alaska Fairbanks)

1300 Elmwood (Buffalo State College)

Think (Case Western Reserve)

Demo (Columbia College Chicago)

Pulteney Street (Hobart and William Smith Colleges)

Terp (University of Maryland)

Buzz (Metropolitan State University)

The Classic (Northwestern College)

Portraits (St. Anselm College)

Red (Seneca College)

The Extra Mile (Southern New Hampshire University)

Sawdust (Stephen F. Austin University)

The Alcalde (University of Texas)

Owl & Spade (Warren Wilson College)

I know the stories behind some of those names, but not all. To my knowledge, Terp is the only university magazine named after the sports teams nickname, unless you count Brown Bear, published by Brown University athletics. (Were the University of Akron to follow suit, its magazine might be named Zip!, which I actually like. Tufts would become Jumbo. Not a good idea.) It didn’t make my list above, but On Wisconsin is the only one titled after the school fight song. At least, I think it’s the only one.

The new issue of Dartmouth Alumni Magazine is entirely given over to Dartmouth alumni who are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, telling their own stories. More about that in a later installment of UMagazinology.

Temple University Magazine recently revamped its design, and in its latest edition published some of the reaction to the change and to the magazine overall. Ninety-two percent of those surveyed praised the magazine as “informative,” and 84 percent said it was “attractive.” Four percent described editorial content as “shallow,” and someone griped that the “Temple T” symbol was hidden on the back cover. Can’t please ’em all. For that last sourpuss, here ya go, compliments of the blog:

Finally, WIT from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston—hey, that one should have made my list up above!—did a clever bit of data presentation in the Summer 2012 issue. Students collected more than 17,000 pounds of recyclable material as part of a national effort called Recyclemania. The magazine broke down the numbers according to residence hall, then presented the stats in animal equivalents. Wit indeed: