‘The Flipside’ allows students’ voices to be heard

More stories from Madeline Peterson


Photo by Gabbie Henn

This student-run publication gives Blugolds and community members the opportunity to express their opinions and share their art.

From the Cabin to Centennial Hall, free copies of a thin, magazine-like publication often adorned with striking cover art are available for anyone on campus to pick up.

The publication is called “The Flipside,” and it provides an alternative media outlet for all UW-Eau Claire students and community members. The editions, which are published every other week throughout the semester, feature a variety of content, including poetry, editorial pieces, artwork and even the occasional shopping list.

Among the other UW-Eau Claire student publications, such as the literary magazine “None of the Above” (NOTA) and “The Spectator,” “The Flipside” is unique because of its 100 percent acceptance rate for submissions, regardless of subject matter.

According to their website, “The Flipside” prides itself on accepting all contributors. There are no rejections and no censorship. As long as the message that is being conveyed is not hateful, it will be published.

“It’s very unique,” said Mary Shaw, one of two of the publication’s current editors-in-chief. “It’s what the students make of it.”

When students Jeremy Gragert, Andrew Werthmann and Brian Vander Kamp wished to publish an opinion piece about the war in Iraq, they created “The Flipside” with the intention of giving all students an opportunity to speak their minds on any issues and share their art.

Professor Kent Syverson took on the role of Faculty Advisor for “The Flipside” in December 2008 when the publication was facing a lack of funding and was considering shutting down.

Syverson is a UW-Eau Claire geology professor and department chair. He said he is a strong advocate for freedom of speech.

“I’m a big First Amendment nut, so when they (“The Flipside” creators) needed some help, they came to me,” Syverson said.

He said he believes “The Flipside” is important due to its ability to foster written dialogue and address disparate opinions. Syverson said he encourages any interested students to get involved.

“I encourage people to put their thoughts down and utilize this opportunity,” Syverson said. “We are always looking for new authors and more people to help with the publication process.”

Shaw, a junior English critical studies student serves as editor-in-chief of the publication alongside Katherine Reiter, a junior studying computer science. Both Shaw and Reiter became involved with “The Flipside” first by submitting poetry as first-year students and eventually attaining positions on staff.

Shaw said she considers the varied content of “The Flipside” representative of UW-Eau Claire’s culture.

“Anything goes,” Shaw said. “It’s really a mishmash of all the interests that the college has.”

The Flipside allows students with no previous experience to get involved with the publication. Reiter, who said she was initially reluctant to get involved due to being a non-English student, now considers the accepting nature of “The Flipside” to be one of its greatest merits.

“It’s great having a way to get into publication with no barriers or requirements,” Reiter said. “You can really improve.”

Both editors-in-chief encourage any student who wants to gain publication experience in a fast-paced environment to consider joining.

“We make something every week,” Reiter said. “We have a purpose and stay busy.”

Meetings for “The Flipside” are held every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Davies 220. More information about submission deadlines can be found on the group’s website, or on “The Flipside” Facebook page.