Swarthmore College students are known for always having an opinion. This year, a new opportunity to voice these opinions has been created with the Swarthmore Political Review.
Since his freshman year, founding member Amitai Halberstam ’08 has wished that “there were a forum to write about ideas and politics.” Last spring, Halberstam decided to take matters into his own hands and he began the SPR along with now-seniors Tom Evnen, Etan Cohen, and George Hang.
Their efforts at creating a publication that “encourages public discussion” paid off when, on Thursday, Oct. 12, the SPR held its inaugural meeting and invited all students to contribute.
The publication will primarily include essays and book reviews on politics, current events, philosophy, and culture. According to Halberstam, the SPR relies heavily on student submissions so that students will have a chance to flex their non-academic writing muscles and read about their peers’ opinions on contemporary issues.
As Halberstam puts it, “there are many Swarthmore students with smart, interesting things to say about the world and their thoughts should not be kept to their friends and professors.”
Halberstam feels that the SPR differs from other campus publications because of its focus on students and their points of view.
“The majority of publications on campus are literary publicationsÃƒ‘students have opportunities to present poetry, short stories, and artwork in an impressive array of publications. For non-literary writing, we have two publications that are chiefly concerned with presenting the news. As for publications devoted to analysis and criticism, I think that SPR will be unique,” said Halberstam.
As a fledgling publication, SPR is still building up its staff. An informal group of editors made up of the founding members currently heads the magazine.
“We are in the process of putting together a full editorial board. Many students have expressed interest in editing so we will be having an application process and information on applying to” be an editor is on the SPR website, said Halberstam.
SPR will hold weekly editorial meetings after the editorial board is assembled. In addition, they have contacted alumni, such as David Bradley ’96, chairman of the Atlantic Monthly, whom they hope will act as advisory board members. The magazine is slated for a January release, a date which could not come sooner for Halberstam whose wish for an opportunity to voice political opinions and ideas is finally coming true.
“Publications like this, when at their best, can play an important role in stimulating public discourse by engaging people in important issues and in the best case, prompting readers to rethink their intellectual or political positions,” said Halberstam.
All students are welcome to submit their work for the first issue of SPR by Nov. 15. More information on SPR is on their website: http://www.sccs.swarthmore.edu/org/spr/