I never realized how I’ve *always* been an “engagement editor.” That’s me as a senior at George Mason University in 1999, marketing the student newspaper. Read on for details.
This week, I learned one of my favorite bands — Orbital — had reunited, released a new album (“Wonky” … listen here) and have announced UK and US tour dates. Yippee!
This electronica act has filled my playlists since college, powering me on the treadmill with a bunch of songs (especially “One Perfect Sunrise”), leading to a 50-pound weight loss in ‘09.
But I first fell in love with these brothers with one song: Halcyon + On + On. I was a freshman at George Mason University near Washington, D.C., when I first heard it in 1995. Nevermind that it was on the Mortal Kombat soundtrack.
This week’s Orbital album news (and my immediate YouTube and iTunes searches for their songs), must have shaken up my college memory neurons, because I started digging up dusty memento boxes.
Inside, I found a bunch of photos from my years editing GMU’s student newspaper, Broadside. There are so many memories to share — some touching, some hilarious, many embarrassing — but two are especially relevant to my work now.
1. During my early years as a junior editor/creator of the paper’s humor page called Etcetera, I was honored by two awards from the editor in chief (at the same time): Most Likely to Be Censored … and Most Likely to Make Deadline. If I remember correctly, some (fairly tame) jokes about the campus radio station got us in hot water. My dueling tendencies to be organized and detail-oriented — while also pushing the limit — haven’t changed much.
2. I never realized how I’ve *always* been an “engagement editor.” That’s me in the photo above with the likeness of Alan Merten, GMU’s longtime president who retired just this year. He started his term in 1996, during my freshman/sophomore year. One of the playful features I helped to create at Broadside was “Where’s Merten?” — a play on “Where’s Waldo.” Basically we would take a staff photo (most likely of something newsworthy that week, like when Chick-fil-A opened a restaurant on campus) — and photoshopped a little Merten head in the photo. It was a hit — I remember at least one faculty member requesting extra copies of the paper one week (but I don’t remember why). During Mason Week my senior year, the newspaper set up a table to advertise ourselves like we always had. Except I wanted it to be interactive. So we created a Merten mask and invited folks to pose with our Merten head. We took photos with a Polaroid and gave out the photos as take-away treats. It was marketing — it was one-on-one engagement — and more importantly, it was fun. *And* the whole project helped a 25,000+ campus of disconnected commuter students recognize the new president on the block. Public service, perhaps?
And for those of you who read this blog regularly: Guess where Merten earned his master’s degree in computer science? You guessed it: Stanford University.