At its inception some time in the mid-1990s, ZINE (pronounced /zēn/) was created to provide the creative minds at Berkshire Community College the chance to express themselves. ZINE is BCC's journal of the literary arts. While it has a faculty advisor, it is otherwise entirely student-driven. ZINE publishes poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, script, cross-genre work, visual art, critical essays, and more. Today, ZINE’s mission has remained, at its core, the same as it was in the ’90s. However, it has changed quite a bit due to the rapidly evolving environment of 2020. Face-to-face meetings have become virtual, and what was once a physical publication is now an online journal. While these changes are overall setbacks, they have set the stage for an all-new era. The team behind ZINE is always looking for new members, even in this time of conflict. ZINE hopes to capture your ideas in the most authentic form possible. With ZINE, there is no need to restrain your beliefs or worry about them being censored. ZINE is, and always has been, the best way to express yourself at BCC.
So, what does ZINE look like in your average school year? ZINE is published annually during springtime by a group of student editors and a faculty advisor. A digital release is made available on the BCC website on launch day, while the physical copy is made available all around campus. Copies are completely free and are available to every student at BCC. A typical issue of ZINE will contain an inside cover crediting those who worked on the magazine, a table of contents, and pages filled with student submissions. The deadline for submissions is usually sometime in February to provide sufficient time for printing. ZINE shapes itself based on the submissions it receives. In the past three years, in order of frequency, ZINE has received a great deal of visual art, poetry, and creative nonfiction and has received relatively few works of short fiction, other genres, and literary criticism. Nonetheless, it is important to keep in mind that each year, it may look completely different from the last. ZINE always finds a way to work your vision into the magazine and collaborates with artists and authors to share creative and critical visions, regardless of any statistics of the past years’ submissions.
How has ZINE changed to accommodate the chaos that is the 2020 to 2021 school year? Well, for one thing, it has changed from being both physical and digital to being entirely digital. Upon the magazine’s publication, a virtual launch event each year in April allows students to read their creative pieces to everyone who attends. It is a golden opportunity for everyone involved.
If you want to have your voice heard, ZINE is the magazine for you. There are many aspects of ZINE that make it the best way to express yourself as a BCC student. ZINE is shaped each year by the submissions it receives, meaning that you can make it whatever you want it to be. By the end of the year, each issue ends up being a physical representation of every BCC student’s voice. As a student editor, artist, or author, your name will be credited in the current issue of ZINE. Your name will be out there for the world to see, and you can build your reputation as a creative or critical creator. ZINE is a safe haven for expressing your ideas, one that listens to every idea you wish to share and will make sure that your voice is heard. Whether you choose to participate in it is completely up to you. Just like any other college creative outlet, you need to reach out to participate. The choice is entirely yours. If you choose to join ZINE, we are happy to welcome you. For those who do not choose to participate, we have no ill will. ZINE is for you, the BCC student. How you choose to utilize it is entirely up to you.
Finley Root, Editor-in-Chief
MASTHEAD: ZINE 2021
Finley Root, Editor-in-Chief
Matilda Root, Site Illustrator
Contributing Editors, 2020-2021:
Julianna Spallholz, Faculty Advisor
ZINE would like to thank the Office of Student Life and the Berkshire Community College Foundation for their past and ongoing support of this project.