Students fighting cuts to yearbook
When the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors decided to cut funding for Nicholls State University La Pirogue yearbook, they got more than perhaps they bargained for. They got Hollyn Millet.
Hollyn, a sophomore birth to 5th grade education major, has been serving as editor in chief of the 69-year-old yearbook and leading the charge to save the publication.
“[We] are pretty worked up, pretty passionate,” she said.
The board of supervisors decided Feb. 23 to eliminate the $10 yearbook fee students at Nicholls pay for the 352 page yearbook. But students at Nicholls don’t get to keep that $10. Nope, it’ll be split up into two $5 fees for Student Success and QEP programs. Even though it’s unsure exactly what those programs will use the fees for.
Not only does Hollyn not understand why the yearbook has to be sacrificed for the two additional fees, she said students didn’t have any input in the matter.
“The La Pirogue students [had] no input into the discussion to discontinue the fee,” Hollyn said. “Nor did the student body, who pay the fee.”
According to a story in the Nicholls Worth newspaper (fun name, right?), the administration claims student interest in yearbooks has waned and technological advances have negatively impacted the book.
According to another story, there’s $498,807.87 in the La Pirogue account as of Feb. 22. Enough to publish the book for years to come without the help of the fee. But it sounds like the administration wants that money, too. Though they haven’t said for what yet. Hollyn hopes the yearbook can keep some of it.
“I really, really hope that they would let us keep a little bit of the money,” she said. “This is Nicholls history.”
But don’t imagine that Hollyn and her staff are taking this lying down. To begin with, they are focused on producing a really great 2017 book.
“We are going above and beyond to produce it and have it out on time,” she said. “[Our theme is] ‘Oh the places we’ve been,’ and it’s highlighting past [coverage and contributions] made by the yearbook. We mean it to make the administration know this [book] does matter.”
She said the staff is united in making their voices heard.
“All my staff is very passionate about the yearbook,” Hollyn said. “They feel the same way. They [are] pretty worked up. They [do] everything.”
That everything includes attending every meeting they can, signing the petition to save the book and bringing awareness to the situation.
And it’s not just her staff that cares. The student government passed a resolution asking the administration to give the money to student publications. And other students are just as concerned.
“Students have been posting and expressing their concerns and feelings about the decision,” Hollyn said.
And they are concerned, she said.
“If [the administration] did this behind closed doors, what is next? Students are worried.”
Additionally, she’s working with alumni to develop an awareness campaign.
But if the yearbook really does go away, Hollyn won’t.
“I will still work with KNSU (radio) or The Nicholls Worth,” she said. “Student media is my home away from home. The first time I walked in the stud publications office, I knew I was meant to be here.”
Hollyn said she is still unsure what will happen in the long run. But in the meantime, she said others can help.
“Share our stories, like us on Facebook,” Hollyn said. “Cause more of an uprise. It’s not just Nicholls. It’s the community, the state. And yearbooks in general.”
You can sign their petition here.