After wrapping up a successful Spring 2020 issue showcasing the intellectual vibrancy and risk-taking Wesleyans employ in their creative pursuits, the Wesleyan University Magazine team thought they had their next issue’s subject all figured out.
With a highly divided political landscape and a contentious presidential election looming, it was clear that the next issue should focus on Wesleyan’s long history of civic engagement and the University’s recently announced commitment to Engage 2020—an initiative aimed at encouraging widespread participation in the political process.
But then COVID-19 hit. And just as the world was busy adapting to a new and scary reality, the University Communications team also found themselves pivoting—not only to conceptualizing, writing, and producing a print magazine during a time of crisis but also to capturing this new reality while continuing to look ahead to an election that suddenly seemed to have even deeper ramifications.
The result was one of the boldest and best-received issues in the magazine’s history—and recognition from the prestigious CASE Circle of Excellence Awards. Wesleyan University Magazine won the Silver Award in the category of alumni/general interest magazines.
Each year the CASE Circle of Excellence Awards recognize hundreds of institutions whose talented staff members have advanced their institutions over the last year through innovative, inspiring, and creative ideas. In the announcement of the award-winners, CASE judges cited Wesleyan Magazine as “a consistently great publication that is bold in its coverage of real issues and topics that engage the reader.”
The Fall issue—the stark black cover emblazoned with a single word “VOTE”—chronicled the efforts so many Wesleyan students, alumni, and faculty are undertaking to improve their communities. The magazine featured stories about Black communities reclaiming their narratives in Baltimore, students and faculty working to reimagine teaching and learning during COVID-19 isolation, and alumni whose work in public service is having a direct impact both on their local communities and the global stage.
In his President’s Letter, Michael Roth ’78 wrote about the importance of civic engagement and generosity of spirit. “To try to stand apart from these issues—to take the posture of the apolitical—is today to take the posture of complicity, whether that be in relation to racism or violent authoritarianism.”
Examples of the Fall 2020 issue appear below. Visit Wesleyan Magazine‘s online site to read more articles from this and other recent issues: