After more than a decade under the direction of the Association of Yale Alumni, Yale’s yearbook will once again be fully student-run.
After AYA, citing budget cuts, eliminated all advisory and administrative links to the yearbook, the Yale Banner registered as a student organization this fall. The decision came after several discussions between Banner editors in chief Greta Carlson ’10 and Faye Zhao ’10, Dean of Student Affairs Marichal Gentry and Associate Dean for Physical Resources and Planning John Meeske ’74. Carlson (a former production and design editor for the News) said recruiting undergraduates will be the biggest challenge the organization faces moving forward.
“The yearbook has fallen on tough times in recent years,” Meeske said. “But the yearbook has commitments to students and parents, and we wanted to make sure to honor those commitments.”
The AYA had financially supported the Banner since 1995, and without it, last year’s Banner staff needed to consider whether to operate independently or join another organization, such as the News.
Organizers eventually decided that the Banner could stay financially solvent on its own, Carlson said. As a student organization, Meeske said that while the Banner can no longer pay staff members, as AYA had in the past, they can use University space and are eligible for funding from the Undergraduate Organizations Funding Committee.
In previous years, the Banner paid members of the AYA to take yearbook orders, organize advertising and regulate the organization’s day-to-day business, Carlson said; now, student volunteers will have to take on these responsibilities without pay. Without having to account for salaries in the organization’s expenses, Carlson said she expects the Banner, which typically sells around 700 yearbooks each fall at $95 each, to run a profit this year.
In addition, Zhao said the Banner will rely more heavily on outside companies to produce and distribute the yearbook. Instead of having the AYA process yearbook orders, an order form will be available online through Jostens, a Minneapolis-based yearbook production company.
But with Zhao and Carlson graduating this spring, the Banner must attract a new crop of undergraduates in order to survive, Meeske said. To register to become a student organization, a group must have at least five members, and while five are officially signed up, Meeske said he has only met two — Carlson and Zhao.
The Banner sent out a campus-wide e-mail on Monday urging students to join the organization, and Carlson said they have been targeting people they have noticed with an interest in design or business. The organization will be hosting an information session Wednesday evening at 7:30 in Linsly-Chittenden Hall.
“We’ve been coming up with a game plan of how to proceed into the future,” she said. “People seem excited — the yearbook is so established and has enjoyed an incredible tradition at Yale.”
The first issue of the Banner was published in 1842.