“Rock & Sling” named one of Whitworth’s top activities in recent budget prioritization report

by Josiah VanWingerden | Staff Writer

“Rock & Sling,” a literary journal managed by Whitworth undergraduates, releases two issues during the academic year, each with around 60 pieces of literature. The journal was recently acknowledged in Whitworth’s 2017 budget reprioritization report as one of the top student activity of the institution.

“The numbers that came back on that report show that dollars spent on ‘Rock & Sling’ return at a 98 percent margin,” said Thom Caraway, associate English professor and “Rock & Sling’s” editor-in-chief. “Meaning that for every dollar Whitworth spends on ‘Rock & Sling,’ it gets almost two full dollars back, a dollar ninety-eight; which was by far the highest margin [on an] activity that Whitworth supports.”

“Rock & Sling” publishes poetry, creative essays, short fiction and some art pieces, contributing to its national recognition for a wide variety of topics and narratives.

Since the budget for the publication is small, the staff closely monitors every cost and spends funds effectively, Caraway said.  The publication has a large student staff with tight control over the printing budget and know how to do so in a cost effective way, Caraway said.

Furthermore, the university gains revenue from the journal through subscriptions and sales because the publication is an actual product, Caraway said.

The journal has several unique qualities about it that set it apart from other university publications, Caraway said. For example, “Rock & Sling” is almost entirely staffed by undergraduates, save three faculty members.

“I think one of the unique things about ‘Rock & Sling’ that probably gets us that kind of recognition is that we have such a huge student involvement, which is unusual among undergrad journals, or at least journals that employ undergrads,” assistant poetry editor junior Lauren Klepinger said. “A lot of them will pick out the top two or three students and bring them in, but if anyone wants to be involved [with ‘Rock & Sling’] they’re welcome to.”

“Rock & Sling” is closed to current Whitworth students, meaning that they cannot submit pieces for publishing. Students serve primarily as readers and decide through discussion and weekly meetings what to publish, Caraway said.

Since Whitworth students cannot submit writings, the content in the journal is from authors across the nation. Some publications have featured work from international authors, assistant managing editor Alexis Paperman said.

“We consider ourselves a journal of witness, so [our purpose] can be witnessing to the Christian faith, to life and to truth, [that’s] one of our big things,” Paperman said. “And we want to encourage the literary community to generate work that may not always be accepted elsewhere.”

Students who are interested in getting involved with “Rock & Sling” can email Paperman at apaperman18@my.whitworth.edu.

“I see this [publication] as a tremendous advantage for us because it’s giving students such a rare opportunity,” Caraway said. “I think the students tend to take that responsibility pretty seriously.”

Contact Josiah VanWingerden at jvanwingerden19@my.whitworth.edu