By Zachary Pearce
For Adam Pere ‘13 and Erica Fugger ‘12, inspiration struck in an inauspicious way.
Co-editors of the reincarnated yearbook, The Garnet, Pere and Fugger have taken the reigns of a project backed by 132 years of history. Yet their continuation of a longstanding Union tradition has been one of uncertainty, creativity, and redemption.
Published since 1877 (with the exceptions of 1892 and 1946), The Garnet, as it has been known for the vast majority of its existence, faced an imminent crisis earlier this year.
Without leadership, club status or funding, The Garnet waited in limbo. This past winter, the Concordiensis published an article declaring the death of the publication. With no discernible successors to 2010’s lone editor of the yearbook (which will likely be published around the same time as the 2011 edition), a veritable cornerstone of Union history was about to be left behind.
Pere and Fugger, co-editors of the resurrected “Off the Stall II,” a mildly irreverent mini-newsletter posted on the bathroom doors of upper-classmen dormitories and student housing (Freshman dorms receive the original “Off the Stall”), were informed that the yearbook was slated for extinction. Immediately reporting to Student Activities director Kerrie Wolf, Pere and Fugger, who found two contributors to the yearbook in transit to her office, petitioned to breathe new life into the project.
Even with renewed support, the project almost never left the ground. After the school’s Finance Committee declined the requisite $20,000 needed to print the yearbooks—“Most of the money goes toward making a printing press for the book,” says Pere—the newly minted co-editors of The Garnet sought out the Student Forum. After a lengthy debate, the yearbook committee was granted funding.
With nearly 40 contributors accrued in less than a month, The Garnet’s frantic race against time has shifted in favor of Pere and Fugger. Still, there is much to be done. At about 96 pages, the 2011 yearbook will draw heavily from The Union Book, the name The Garnet assumed from 1969 to 1979. An instantly controversial yet innovative redesign of the traditional yearbook format, The Union Book served more as an “art book” that chronicled Union life through photography. Pere and Fugger will dually design The Union Book’s aesthetic appearance while incorporating more traditional elements such as senior portraits, events on campus and commencement.
Still, as a relatively abbreviated endeavor, Pere and Fugger are willing to accept the realities of the project. With only a third of the student body having submitted a senior portrait, the two have devised an inventive way of preserving seniors’ memories.
“During senior week we’ll have some sort of banner that all the senior class can sign,” says Fugger. “The publication itself won’t come out towards the end of the summer, so no one’s going to be able to sign each other’s yearbooks. This is hopefully a way for everyone to be able to personalize it.”
Nonetheless, the smiles of Pere and Fugger belie the intensity of the project. After fighting for the funding to create this year’s yearbook, their commitment to the tangible preservation of memory has them looking toward the future.