This past winter semester, MUSE Magazine lost the AMS referendum campaign for the second year in a row. This campaign concerned whether or not MUSE would be receiving an optional fifty-cent student fee for the 2015-2016 year. Voting “yes” for the campaign did not mean actually paying the fee- all it meant was that the magazine would have the chance to be supported financially by any Queen’s University students who would have liked to do so. Not having the financial support of student opt-out fees could potentially mean the end of our publication.
But there is something even more important that we have been confronting outside of our financial losses: MUSE losing the referendum forces the question of whether or not our creative publication has a place on the Queen’s University campus. Our purpose as a club is simple: we pride ourselves on giving a voice to the student body, and providing a creative outlet for them. Beyond that, we epitomize expression (whether it be through photography, writing, modelling, designing, etc.), and there are so many students who crave that kind of expressive freedom. As with all other clubs on the Queen’s University campus, MUSE has created a small community made up of executives, contributors, and readers who are passionate about the club.
In fact, MUSE Magazine is a publication that students have shown true excitement and dedication for. MUSE has grown exponentially since its creation in 2011. In just over a year, we have almost doubled our Facebook likes from 1000 to 1700, as of the publishing of this article. As well, in the past year we have grown from approximately 400 to 600 Instagram followers, marking a 50% growth. Our last issue, Issue IX, was read by over 1,000 online readers, as well as those who received our print copy. People from all parts of the world read MUSE Magazine, including those in Europe, South America, and Africa. Our last issue contained work by over forty Queen’s University students, not including the work done by our executive team itself.
However, in looking at the bigger picture these numbers don’t matter. If even one Queen’s University student has something they want to write, create, or share within our publication, that in itself is enough reason for MUSE to exist. We believe this is also enough reason for other students to support the existence of MUSE Magazine, in order to support their peers. And that is why we are writing this article.
As Directors of the magazine, we have personally experienced the power that our publication can hold. In Issue VIII, our current Creative Director was inspired to write “Stripped”, a piece about learning self-acceptance after an accident that left her with permanent scarring. This was the first time she had ever allowed this scar to be photographed in that nature. In Issue IX, our current Editor-in-Chief wrote about her mother’s memory after her recent passing, and how that has impacted her current career path. MUSE has featured personal stories on eating disorders, one student’s quest to raise money and awareness for child soldiers, and creative short pieces. There is a reason why these articles, and many others, were published in MUSE Magazine.
Our purpose as a publication is to create a space where students can share their experiences and their stories. Whether contributors have shared a piece of themselves through a photo shoot or a deeply personal article, the result is the same. MUSE exists because of students. We are here to support any student who wants to write with us, and as long as these students continue to write, we will continue to publish.
We’re here for the Queen’s University creative community. And we love you.
Abi Conners, Jaclyn Marcus, Judy To, and Lulu Tong
2014-2015 MUSE Magazine Directors
Graphics: Abi Conners