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Davis, California

Saturday, May 18, 2024

A Spectrum of experiences

We’re all determined to save the world. For the students at Davis Senior High School, they’re taking the initiative to do just that through the power of written word. Davis’ very own student-run The World Spectra Magazine launched its first publication last month.

Spectra is a nonprofit journal featuring student works on different perceptions of the world. Led by Davis Senior High School fourth-year and editor-in-chief Linda Ge, the magazine was founded in August 2012. Last month, the team of 14 Davis high school students contributed to successfully launching its first issue.

“We want to teach people to appreciate others,” said Ge in an email interview. “We want to learn from new voices and from experts.”

According to Spectra’s website, the magazine aims to bridge communities and cultures from all over the world. Spectra showcases a collection of works by people in their teens to their 60s, providing a wide range of experiences and perceptions about any human experience. The magazine publishes works in different forms such as articles, poems, photos and personal essays.

“I have always loved listening to people tell their stories and believe very, very strongly that if people actually listened to each other, then we would have a lot less problems in this world,” said Shelby Ziccardi, Da Vinci Charter Academy third-year and Spectra CEO, in an email interview.

The magazine is based in Davis and is run solely by nine students from Davis Senior High School and five from Da Vinci Charter Academy.

“Spectra remains entirely student-run: in learning how to produce the publication, staff members have had to learn about management, marketing, publishing and graphic design, all in our free time,” Ge said.

However, contributors to the magazine come from all over the world, including Bangladesh, Australia and Germany. Ge said that they are lucky to live in an internet era.

To recruit writers, the team relies mostly on flyers, social media sites and word of mouth, according to Elsa Young, Da Vinci Charter Academy third-year and Spectra public relations officer. It also recruits writers abroad.

“We are advertising Spectra abroad mainly by soliciting stories from international people, although we are also working with the UC Davis Humphrey Fellows and Team Blend (a student group at Da Vinci that travels to Nicaragua each summer) to spread our name,” Young said in an email interview. “Getting contributors from abroad is simply a matter of reaching out on social media sites (like Flickr) and emailing people we think will have a good story to share, regardless of whether we know them personally or not.”

Although the first issue is only available online, Spectra plans to publish both online and print publications thrice a year.

“We do plan on publishing our next issue in print,” Ge said. “The problem with printing our first issue was our lack of funds and knowledge about printers. We’ll be better-prepared for the next issue though.”

In order to bring communities together, Ge said that they plan to provide copies of Spectra to developing countries through physical print or e-reader editions.

“By publishing stories written by community members and then distributing them abroad, Spectra has the power to create understanding between different cultures and societies,” Young said.

The magazine is currently free to everyone. In the future, a “buy a copy, donate a copy” option may be introduced to compensate printing costs, according to Ge. She said that the team has also talked to various organizations and student groups about bringing Spectra to their travels in developing countries.

“We are excited about reaching an audience that would otherwise be unable to learn about how cultures outside of their own operate,” Ge said.

Ge said that the Spectra team believes in education, empowerment of minority groups and entrepreneurship. The members portray this partly through the knowledge they would offer students in developing countries, hands-on business and publishing experience the team gets and eventually sponsoring women entrepreneurs with small businesses.

UC Davis students can also get involved with Spectra by sharing their stories or through mentorship.

“We are extremely enthusiastic about reading and publishing true personal accounts from UC Davis students, whose own life experiences are varied and unique,” Ge said. “Additionally, we would love to receive mentorship in the fields of legal matters and business (particularly in accounting). If any readers have ideas as to how Spectra could collaborate with UC Davis student groups, we would love for them to contact us.”

To learn more about Spectra Magazine and check out the first issue, visit spectra.co.nr.

“We believe that when people truly understand one another and their stories, any conflict can be resolved, any bond can be created and a whole new way of life can be formed,” Ziccardi said.

JOYCE BERTHELSEN can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


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