None of the Above

NOTA’s leadership team strives to leave positive legacy


Photo/Illustration: NOTA has been a publication exclusive to UW-Eau Claire for 44 years. It features prose, poems, art and music which is a new feature added in future issues. © 2014 Elizabeth Jackson

Story by Courtney Kueppers, Copy Editor

Long before setting foot on campus, Alex Tronson knew about NOTA.

His older brother was a student at UW-Eau Claire and he often brought the art, literature and music publication home.

When Tronson, now a sophomore, decided to attend Eau Claire he made it his goal to have his work published in NOTA. Check.

“It’s really, really rewarding,” Tronson said. “I know it’s not monetary or anything but that’s not really the point. Seeing your work in print along with other writers and artists is a really gratifying experience.”

NOTA, or None of the Above, is compiled once a semester by a team of students to showcase Eau Claire student artwork. The magazine has been in print more than 40 years.

The Student Senate-funded organization is well on its way to compiling this semester’s edition of the book.

Through the years, one aspect remained the same.

“It’s always been about featuring student work,” Art Director Serena Wagner said.

Wagner has worked with NOTA on and off since 2010.  A graphic design major, she was intrigued by the chance to hone her craft, she said.

“There aren’t a lot of outlets for artistic expression on our campus and there’s not a lot of support,” Wagner said. “I think it’s really important for that support to come from within first in order to get everyone else in the community excited about it.”

Students from all disciplines are encouraged every semester to submit their poetry, prose, artwork and music to be selected for print. Music submissions are the most recent addition to the book.

“With the integration of the music submissions, it’s another way for students who are working on their own projects to get out their name and work out there,” Wagner said. “We do a NOTA band camp album. We have the band submit a bio, a photo and two tracks to be on our album.”

Feb. 21 was this semester’s deadline for literary submissions. These will now go to a selection committee that is open to students to decide which pieces will be published this semester.

The art selection event is open to anyone and everyone. Those present at the event gets ten votes. The 25 to 30 pieces with the most votes appear in print.

Junior Victoria Zelinski said she didn’t expect both art pieces she submitted last semester to earn enough votes to be printed.

“I have always looked at NOTA ever since freshman year but I didn’t think I would get in it ever,” Zelinski said. “I just like the idea of being in a local publication with other local artists. It’s good to see that. You feel more proud of your work.”

Once the literature and art are selected, the art team lays out pages and decides on a theme and feel for the book. The publication is then sent to UW-Stout for printing. The NOTA team plans to have the publication  on Eau Claire newsstands a week before finals each semester.

“It’s a student team that prints it over there so the money stays in the UW system, which is nice,” Wagner said.


Formerly stuffed in a closet in Hibbard, NOTA moved to a new office in Centennial Hall. When Editor in Chief Charlotte Kupsh was unpacking she realized how far the publication had come, she said.

“The older ones are not nearly as impressive,” Kupsh said. “Art has done a really good job of improving the quality.”

The organization overcame hurdles in the last couple years. Kupsh said it’s lucky NOTA is still on campus.

Five years ago, NOTA was going downhill fast. The magazine was morphing into an exclusive thing, Kupsh said.

During their last semester on staff, Kupsh and Wagner said they want to revive NOTA and leave their mark on the publication.

“I would really like to get more recognition for NOTA because a lot of my friends only know what it is because I keep talking about it on Facebook,” Kupsh said. “But it’s been a struggle just to get back. I think we have a pretty solid organization now. … We are all still working on getting it out there, getting it more widespread and getting people to understand what it is.”

Through the use of social media and on campus advertising Wagner said she hopes more students notice NOTA and hopes to see the publication “integrated into student life rather than have it be (an) external thing that no one knows about.”

As a student with published poetry and his music in print in the next volume, Tronson said everyone could benefit from NOTA.

“There’s a very tight knit community of artists in Eau Claire and it’s really great to be able to showcase that in one place that is really accessible since it’s free and all over campus,” Tronson said. “Everyone can read it and it will inspire other people to pursue their own artistic passions I think.”