Celebrating student work: Publishing on campus

The 2020 edition of the SAMPLER. Photo courtesy of Leah Ash.

Story by Leah Ash, Culture Editor

This spring marks not only the 34th edition of the SAMPLER, but the first year of a brand new publication on campus: Magna Verba, a booklet that showcases the academic work of various Aquinas students.

The SAMPLER is a “Student Literary and Art Publication,” and a collaboration between the English department and art department. The faculty advisor for SAMPLER 34 is Dr. Jennifer Dawson, an associate professor of English. She works with the board members of Alpha Chi Iota, the Aqunias chapter of the English honor society Sigma Tau Delta, to make sure that the SAMPLER is the best that it can be. 

“I think that creating space for student voices is the driving force behind the SAMPLER,” Dawson said. “Collaborating with the art department is a means to share student works with the world, helping them to be heard.”

Besides sharing students’ voices, the SAMPLER is a way to remember each year at Aquinas.

“It represents an artistic snapshot each year that captures a slice of the wide diversity of imaginative literary works and the visual art being produced by students in and out of the classroom,” Dawson said. 

This year is the inaugural release of the new Aquinas publication Magna Verba. Created by senior Writing Center consultant Kim Becker, Magna Verba is meant to provide students with another opportunity to share their work, similar to the SAMPLER. However, this publication only accepts submissions of academic writing, specifically items written for Aquinas assignments. 

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on

“Aquinas has the SAMPLER, but not everyone writes creatively,” Becker said. “Writing assignments are a part of college, and Magna Verba is an opportunity for students to take pride in their course work and see the value in it, even if it was just for class.”

In addition to creating Magna Verba, Becker has many goals for the publication that she hopes to achieve in the future.

“Magna Verba would love to spotlight an I&E or GE paper to encourage freshmen to submit,” Becker said. “We would love to have papers from science and math courses, maybe a foreign language, too.”

Magna Verba is hosting a launch party on April 26 at 3 p.m. on the first floor of the Grace Hauenstein Library. The 34th edition of the SAMPLER will be having its launch party on May 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wege Ballroom. Attend both of these parties to grab your own copy of each publication.