An expanded publications board, a new publications coordinator and a new format will have everyone involved with the Fort Hays State University Reveille thinking outside the box.
Recent budget cuts forced the Reveille staff to do away with the traditional hardcover yearly publication.
"Everybody's seeking something new and innovative, and if anything, we're hoping that with a new coordinator and a new Publications Board, we can think outside the box," said Dr. Diane Scott, assistant vice president for Student Affairs and Publications Board chair.
With the recent hiring of the new publications coordinator, Dawn Mermis, there is a lot that is still in the planning stages.
"The new coordinator, the new publications board and everyone involved will not only decide the immediate goal of the publication for this coming year, but also decide on a long-term plan as far as where they are going to go with it and what they want it to look like," said Dr. Herb Songer, vice president for Student Affairs.
Mermis said that no matter what format is chosen, the main objective of a college yearbook is to "record the history of the year that has passed." She said that any format can achieve this, because the format reflects the university's personality and philosophy.
So whether a CD, a magazine or some other form of publication, the yearbook will change formats at the start of fall semester. A committee of faculty members, administration, yearbook staff members and Student Government representatives will make the final decision.
"There will be a lot of input from everyone," Mermis said. "We are going to do the best we can with what we have."
According to Scott and Mermis, this change is not uncommon in universities across the country. Many universities, they said, have chosen to do away with the traditional hard-bound yearbook and replace it with a magazine, CD or other form of periodical. The reason for this, Scott said, is the monopoly that two major companies have in the industry. Buying a few yearbooks versus buying a large quantity costs the same and many universities can no longer afford it.
The publications board has also undergone changes in an attempt to expand ideas.
"We've expanded the student Publications Board to include more areas and departments on campus to bring in new, fresh ideas," said Scott. "They will be there to be of help and support to the students involved in the publications."
Recruiting staff members for the publication is another area that is going to change in the upcoming year. Scott said that the key is aggressiveness.
"Instead of waiting for students to come apply for positions, we're going to go out and recruit people from different areas of campus," she said.
Mermis graduated from FHSU with a bachelor of arts degree in communication with an emphasis in journalism and public relations and a master of arts degree in general communication. She has written for many different publications, including the Ellis County Star and the Hays Daily News. She also worked in public relations fundraising and worked for public television.
The job offer for publications coordinator for FHSU was appealing to Mermis because it was a great opportunity for her to work in her area of choice.
"I kind of got side-tracked with public relations," she said. "And I wanted to get back into the journalism side of things."
Along with her part-time position at FHSU, Mermis is also a real estate agent for Landmark Realty in Hays. She has two children.
While some things about the yearbook will change, enthusiasm is still there to bring a quality product to the FHSU community.
"I look forward to an interesting year of development and growth and letting students' talents and skills shine," said Mermis.