After covering sex and marijuana, readers curiously waited to see what Vent magazine would talk about next.
In its fifth and longest publication, Vent dissects the economy. The C.R.E.A.M. issue – short for “cash rules everything around me” – aims to show readers how money affects virtually all aspects of their lives.
“Whether you are talking about culture, school, relationships, majors, clothes, anything – everything that you do is really dictated by money,” said Leo Cristobal, editor in chief of Vent.
Since planning for the C.R.E.A.M. issue began in the fall, the budget cuts and fee hikes have been a central focus amongst UC students.
“We felt like that was the most pressing and relevant issue for students at UC Davis,” Cristobal said.
Vent is a student-run, nonprofit Asian American politics and pop culture magazine, striving to give Asian Americans an outlet to express how they feel about issues affecting them. While there is a working staff of about 20 students, the publication will take submissions from anyone.
“We’re trying to level the playing field. Anyone who wants to speak out, express their opinion – [we] give them a chance to be published,” Cristobal said. “It’s kind of contradictory if you are trying to speak for a whole community when it is only being run by a certain group of people.”
The C.R.E.A.M. issue is well balanced between photographic spreads and articles as well as sassiness and seriousness, said Caitlin Flint, Vent’s graphic designer.
“The tone of each piece varies overall. But for the whole magazine it’s a good blend of sarcasm, humor, serious thought and analysis,” she said.
While the magazine is catered towards Asian Americans, Vent does not want to be exclusive and maintains that its content is interesting to all.
“It provides a really valuable look into the uniqueness of the Asian American experience,” said Flint, the only non-Asian American on the Vent staff. “I think it’s always great to understand what other people experience and how other people feel.”
Vent can be described as an anthology – it’s a collection of different students’ research and opinions. There is no one voice that permeates the issue.
“We didn’t want just one voice,” Cristobal said. “The Asian American community is very diverse, so we tried to encapsulate that with the articles we chose.”
The cover story follows UC tuition raises historically, tracing where the whole issue started and its development. Wendy Li, a Vent intern, said it is full of fascinating statistics.
“When Davis first started, the tuition was only $84, which is the cost of a textbook now,” she said.
Other articles include a feature on unemployment in Japan and the extent to which the unemployed will try to hide their status as they seek new jobs. Also included is an expose entitled “Kings and Queens of Bargain Hunting,” addressing the Asian American stereotype of being cheap, and various opinion pieces dealing with the economy on a personal level.
Cristobal hopes that readers will have a strong reaction to articles, whether they are positive or negative.
“I want people to be critical about their opinions and how they perceive the world as Asian Americans,” he said. “Vent magazine wants people to talk, to converse, to have discussions, to be aware of issues that affect our community.”
Vent also hopes to foster a discussion on what it means to be Asian American, a term that remains difficult to define, Cristobal said.
“As a community it’s our job to talk to each other about what it means to be Asian American and form an identity that we can all agree on,” he said.
Vent is still a work in progress, but the design aesthetic has improved immensely over the years, Cristobal said.
“One thing that’s really unique about Vent is how much they care about not just their message but the mode of their message,” Flint said. “Why just be another voice when you can be a voice with beauty behind it too?”
Ideally, more people would contribute to Vent magazine and everyone on campus would have a copy, but budgetary constraints make that dream difficult, Cristobal said.
Requests for the C.R.E.A.M. issue can be sent to email@example.com with your name, year and student ID number.
JANELLE BITKER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.