Two new publications, The Lamppost and Birthmark Magazine, debuted this month with the aim of attracting students who may not typically read or submit to other publications on campus.
The Lamppost is an online platform where students submit stories, poems and photos. The publication staff includes Jessica Abramson ’19, Rose Whitlock ’18 and Olivia Lafferty ’18. Unlike other publications, The Lamppost encourages students to submit their unpolished work.
“The purpose is to give people a platform to submit ideas, stories, poetry and any other type of creative writing that is not entirely polished,” Whitlock explained. “Other publications have an editing process. We do not edit their work. They submit it and we publish it as is. It is a step up from Yik-Yak but it is not quite Counterpoint.”
All submissions, including those that are controversial, are posted unless they target an individual or indicate that someone is in danger. The Lamppost is based on a platform established in United World Colleges (UWC), known as UWC Voices. Abramson who attended a UWC school believed that such a platform was needed at Wellesley.
“Wellesley students have a lot of stories and ideas that we don’t necessarily share with each other, especially across different social groups,” Abramson said. “An online publication like The Lamppost can be, in some ways, more accessible and organic than official publications. It gives every student a completely uncensored platform to say whatever they have to say, and hopefully reach their thoughts.”
Students can submit their work via The Lamppost website, which is run through Tumblr. The staff ensures that the submission complies with their policy before posting. They aim to publish a new post every day, and may sometimes stagger posts as they are received to do so. As an online platform, The Lamppost does not need funding and will remain as a non-constituted organization.
When deciding on a name for their publication, the staff believed the iconic lampposts that stud the campus would fit well.
“We were trying to think of something that is unique to Wellesley and the lamppost was the first thing that came to mind,” Whitlock said.
The Lamppost also has a Facebook page and allows students to “like” postings. Whitlock explained that Facebook not only helps advertise this new platform but also helps regulate postings by making popular ones more visible.
“If you read something and think it is interesting and then comment, like or share it, your friends will see it. It will spread this way,” Whitlock explained. “It helps control what is popular. The student body is determining what they like and what they want to see.”
Looking ahead, The Lamppost staff encourages students to submit their work and organizations to submit prompts that tie to current events on campus. For instance, Active Minds submitted their “love your body week” campaign as a prompt.
Similar to The Lamppost, The Birthmark Magazine, which is both a printed and online semester publication, intends to a create a space where students can express their own Wellesley experiences through stories, poems and artwork. Editor-in-Chief Jasmyne Keimig ’16 believes that the magazine encourages students of different backgrounds to participate.
“The magazine gives people who are from different majors to get involved and to have their own creative space,” Keimig said. “We wanted a lot of POC students to apply and to have a creative space as well.”
The idea behind the magazine first arose last semester, when Keimig and a few of her friends wanted to make something for themselves and the Wellesley community. As a self sustained magazine, the project evolved from the motivation and effort of Keimig and the magazine’s board as Birthmark Magazine does not have a set group of writers or funding.
The Birthmark Magazine is described as alternative because it is self-published and distributed. Black and white copies were printed using the Clapp printers. With support from the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship and Director of Harambee House Dr. Cameron, the staff was able to print a few copies in color.
Keimig believes that the title of the magazine connects to the intimacy of the personal narratives shared by those who submitted.
“I think there’s this deep intimacy with birthmarks because they are often in a hidden or not super public place on your body and the revealing or discovery of it can be powerful,” Keimig said. “I’m glad that so many people volunteered to share that with me and our readership.”
Keimig includes her birthmark story in the magazine.
“Mine, that’s featured in the zine, faded a lot as I grew up and it’s interesting to think about how it affected the way I saw my body as marked and as having a spiritual connection.”
Inside the magazine, readers can also find coupons for student-run cooperatives such as El Table and Café Hoop.
Birthmark editors will be hosting a release party on Dec 5 from 6-8 p.m. at Instead where writers and poets who submitted will be reading their work. Editors will also distribute black and white copies of the magazine during the event. Although it is uncertain whether the magazine will continue after the senior editors graduate, Keimig assures that there will be a spring semester magazine. Submissions for the spring issue can be emailed to Keimig.
Sabrina Leung ‘18 is the Digital Editor majoring in International Relations-Political Science with a minor in History. She is best reached at email@example.com or @sabrinatzleung on Twitter.