10 Reasons Why You Should Join Gardy Loo

Interested in joining Gardy Loo? Come to our interest meeting on Tuesday, September 4, from 6:30 pm to 8 pm!

Hello there, fellow JMU students and people of the internet!

With the new school year starting up, everyone’s got one question.

How can I keep my Birks from blistering my feet?

…. Barring that, everyone wants to know what clubs they should join. With JMU’s impressive number of registered clubs—over 350—it can be a bit of a trial to find which clubs match your interests.

We here at Gardy Loo, JMU’s best (read “only”) student-run arts and literature magazine, thought we’d be super helpful and share with you (read “persuade and perhaps subtly bribe you with”) some of the top reasons for joining Gardy Loo’s amazing staff. Without further ado, here are—in no particular order—the top ten reasons to join Gardy Loo’s staff.

​1. Camaraderie

Whether it’s Marina being an honorary Katie or the Editor-in-Chief (that’s me—Hello! I’m the chief Katie) being a total Pinterest Mom or even just the name of our magazine and what it might mean, we have a medley of inside jokes that we’d love to include you in. No one is ever turned away, and everyone is encouraged to make jokes and have fun. While we take our jobs very seriously, we’re still fun people who are always ready to laugh at a joke about our struggles as college students or eat whatever food is available. We practically pride ourselves on silliness and our ability to scarf down snacks.

2. Diversity

A lot of people would think that an arts and literature magazine requires its staff to be made up of English Majors and Fine Arts majors, etc.

That’s not the case at all! We have a wide range of people from many different majors. We have staff members majoring in everything from Finance to Anthropology to Poli-Sci to SMAD. I always like to say that so long as you have opinions, you’re welcome to come along and voice them. We like to celebrate our different backgrounds, both educationally and culturally, because we believe that it leads to a wider range of understanding for the art we receive and therefore leads to a better overall product.

3. Resume Building

A lot of students coming into college don’t have much on their resumes—I know I sure didn’t. With Gardy Loo listed on your resume, what you’re showing potential employers is that you can work hard and collaborate with others to make a superior product in the form of our magazine, printed once a semester and involving hundreds of hours of work from intelligent, funny, industrious people.

You also have the distinct ability to grow within the magazine, which gives you more resume fodder, but I’ll discuss that momentarily.

4. Voices Heard

The way Gardy Loo works is through a series of committees—arts, prose, poetry, design—in which members come together and vote on submissions and help to design the magazine.

The design committee is an especially unique opportunity for members to actual try their hand at designing spreads, which is a great learning experience (especially if you, like myself, aren’t in a field that uses InDesign regularly) and also quite fun once you get the hang of it—and don’t worry, we’ll teach you!

On the other committees, you’ll be asked to review and pre-vote for submissions on your own time and then come together to vote for the pieces which will be featured in the magazine. All opinions are welcome, and healthy debate is encouraged. We’ve even managed some miracles in years past, where the fervent campaigning of one committee member managed to earn a piece its place in the magazine.

5. Baked Goods

Stepping back from the information-heavy discussion of committees for a moment, I offer you this: FOOD.

Between our brilliant Managing Editor (Marina Shafik), our masterful Design Editor (Aereen Lapuz), and our fearless Editor-In-Chief (That's me, again! Hello... Again), we have three highly proficient bakers and general treat-makers. In the past, we’ve made everything from scones to white fudge mint Oreos (so good!).

This section constitutes that subtle bribery I spoke of in the beginning of this post. If you picked up on that already, you and I will get along just fine.

6. Room to Grow

In the discussion on resume building, I sort of touched on this topic.

Last semester, Gardy Loo had an outstanding ratio of one leadership position for every two and a half members!

Since our club is on the smaller (but no less awesome) side of JMU life, there’s markedly less people competing for leadership slots, so people who are driven and ambitious can quickly become a manager or a committee head. We have an application process for committee heads at the beginning of every semester and then we vote on leadership positions every spring and the leadership board positions are year-long.

And all of these positions look great on a resume, just by the way.

7. Collaboration

Being a part of a team is great.

I know, that sounds so unbearably hokey, but it’s true. Gardy Loo is a team, and we all come together and collaborate to make our magazine.

Between committees and design and marketing and the end-of-the-year bash (I call this the Gardy Party; its official title is much lamer, and I’m hoping to rectify that this year), all members of Gardy Loo’s staff have a say in the magazine, and it makes the best product possible. We grow through collaboration in the face of creative differences, and we learn and achieve a lot through the experience.

8. Contribution

Just because you’re on staff at Gardy Loo doesn’t mean that you can’t submit to the magazine. We process staff pieces differently than general submissions, and since you’re on staff, you’re privy to the conversation.

Now, while it may seem daunting to sit in a room while people discuss and vote on your piece, there’s a few things I’d like to express:

We are always respectful of the fact that you may be in the room, so no one will be mean or brash. We, to put it lightly, discourage putting down of any piece we receive, but especially staff pieces.

Also, and this is the really cool part, you get to hear what people are saying about your piece. Anonymity lends you a sort of clarity that you won’t get in a creative writing workshop or even a fine arts critique, and even if your piece doesn’t get into the magazine, you’ll have a clear understanding as to why and you can always improve the piece and send it back the next semester (I’m famous for this move, and trust me, it works).

9. Gardy Party

The Bi-Annual Gardy Party is an event held on a semester basis that allows club members and contributors—both staff and general—to come together and celebrate the finished product. There’s food, readings, discussions, and free swag. It’s always a lot of fun, and it’s great to get to know the people behind the pieces.

This night of glitz and glamour usually takes place in Madison Union Room 256—so chic—and is our (read “leadership’s”) opportunity to give back to our amazing artist and writers and staff for helping us to make our organization’s magazine the absolute best it can be, and I’d like to extend that honor to all of you, should you wish to join Gardy Loo.

Confession time: I lied a little earlier when I said that these reasons were in no particular order. I actually saved the best for last. Forgive me.

10. The Magazine

JMU has a truly staggering amount of clubs, and they all contribute to the diversity of our beautiful campus as well as our individual collegiate experiences.

All of these organizations leave us with something to take away, be it an experience or a free t-shirt, but Gardy Loo is one of the few organizations where you get a tangible, physical thing to show all of your hard work and dedicated hours off with. You even get your name printed in it!

I mean, who doesn’t want something to take home and throw on the family dinner table and say, “Look, Ma, I made a thing!”?

In summary, all of JMU’s clubs and organizations are great, and all of our student body is great, and if you, fellow student, wished to lend your greatness to Gardy Loo, well, that’d be just great.

Good luck in the coming semester!

Best Wishes,

Kathryn M. Walker

Gardy Loo Editor-in-Chief

Interested in joining? You can email us at jmuGardyLoo@gmail.com or through our contact page.To learn more about staff, you can keep reading or visit our staff page.

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