The first issue of the Great Lake Review (or at least the first archive that can be found) was published in the 1974-1975 school year. Since then, the publication has undergone many changes, like accepting drama submissions and adding a new group of editors that focus specifically on them. It’s also changed in page count throughout the years. One issue is as small as 18 pages, while another is as big as 261 pages.
We’ve also changed the names of officer positions and added some (and then removed some). For example, the oldest issue had an Editor-in-Chief, Assistant Editor, and Managing Editor. We now have an Editor-in-Chief, Managerial Editor, Secretary, and Treasurer.
The 1975 issue included a note from the editors at the end of the journal, specifying how they were going to implement changes to help with the submission process and getting more people to submit their work to the journal.
My journey with GLR began my freshman year (Fall 2014). The editor-in-chief then was Ethan Gormley, who also just so happened to be the guy living across the hall. I got to see how he worked firsthand and was really interested in becoming more involved with GLR. I expressed this to him, and he encouraged me to be more outspoken at meetings and to keep working hard.
Ethan is one of the main reasons for my involvement with the journal, which is why I chose to interview him.
What was your greatest accomplishment as Editor-in-Chief for GLR?
“I think my biggest accomplishment as GLR’s Editor-in-Chief was the move toward slimming the book down. Before me the book was closer in thickness to a phone book than I would’ve liked, so we got a little pickier with the submissions and managed to slim it down a bit. A smaller book meant more books. The four GLR issues that I’d seen before being Editor-in-Chief only had enough copies for the contributors to have one or two. So I’m glad that at least in theory more people could be reading the magazine.”
Ethan’s answer is kind of ironic now because we’re currently working towards making a bigger book, mostly because we want to add more artwork but also help publish more students’ work. We’re aiming for 120 pages for upcoming semesters. Our most current issues have been just over 100 pages.
What do/did you look for when selecting what pieces went in the book?
“My biggest thing when reading all the submissions is finding the story’s hook. I can’t speak for poetry so much, but I’m sure it’s somewhat similar. If the story doesn’t pull you in then why bother? There’s too much to read for an editor and everyday reader alike. The writer’s first job is to give the reader a reason.”
Is there anything you wish you did differently?
“Maybe creating more of a camaraderie among the editors would’ve been nice. GLR editors are “nice people,” most of the time. Especially to each other. So, maybe getting the editors together for a pizza or something would’ve been good.
Something that would be interesting to look more into is where the tag “we’re nice people” came from. Ethan has been away from GLR for almost two years now and he still remembers it.
Looking through the GLR archives, the first time it was used was for the Fall 2009 issue. It’s been on the back cover ever since.
I asked Brad Korbesmeyer, the past faculty advisor for GLR, and he doesn’t remember how the saying came to be or what inspired it.
The phrase is something we tend to use on our advertisements and it’s something I always say at the end of my class visits when I’m pitching GLR. The editors and I always talk about how ironic it is that that’s our saying, when the majority of us communicate through sass and/or sarcasm.
Since we’ve used “we’re nice people” on our back cover for the past 15 editions, it can be considered our logotype. However, there are way more editions that don’t have this on it. The only thing that’s really consistent with the older issues is the Great Lake Review (or GLR) title and recognition that the publication comes from Student Association fees.
Since the logotype hasn’t been around that long, there’s a possibility it could change in the next few years. Until then, I guess I’m still a nice person.