Student-led journal provides outlet for creativity


FPU’s Green Light accepting creative writing submissions

FPU is home to a wide array of clubs, ranging from the Anime Club to the Shalom Club. For students who are looking to express their creativity in a new way, the Green Light may be the club for you. The Green Light is a short literary journal that is published on a yearly basis. Dr. Daniel Larson, associate professor of English and faculty adviser for the Green Light, has had the pleasure of watching the club grow and change in a positive way over the years. Larson became involved with the Green Light after students struggled to get the club off the ground on their own during its early stages.

“Larson was aware that people on campus had a desire to publish their creative writing, but did not have a lot of opportunities to do so.”

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“They worked on it for a while, but there was no place to put it. They didn’t have any kind of institutional housing for it,” Larson said.

Larson was aware that people on campus had a desire to publish their creative writing, but did not have a lot of opportunities to do so. Former Communication Professor and Faculty Adviser for the Syrinx, Adam Schrag, approached Larson about overseeing the club, because the Green Light was attached to the Syrinx during its formation.

“He [Schrag] said, ‘Hey, we need someone to do this, would you be interested?’ Since I was teaching creative writing, I noticed that there were a lot of people who were writing on campus and are interested in that kind of stuff, but there was no outlet for them. Now, we also had this journal that needed some sort of shepherding. So I figured, let’s put those two things together and see what we can do with it,” Larson said.

FPU alumn Laurel Samuelson was one of the founding members of the Green Light. Although Samuelson played a major role in helping the journal grow, she does not credit herself as the one who came up with the idea for an undergraduate literary journal.

“I was hanging out with a freshman English major named Brenden Nielsen. He was fired up about all the things he wanted to happen in the English major, and he really wanted to start a literary journal on campus. I happened to be sitting with him one day when Adam Schrag came over to approach him about starting the journal and he assumed I was involved too, but it was all Brenden’s idea first,” Samuelson said.

For the first volume of the Green Light, Nielsen and Samuelson served as co-editors. Shortly after the first volume was released in Spring 2016, Nielson transferred to a different school, leaving Samuelson as the Editor in Chief. At first, this was difficult for Samuelson, because the journal suddenly became her responsibility.

“After Brenden left, I didn’t really ‘want’ to be a part of the thing, because it wasn’t my idea. But, he poured so much care into it that I didn’t want it to go away after all that effort we put in,” said Samuelson.

After 2017, the club found their rhythm and produced the 2nd volume of the Green Light with great success. A major change in the production process from the first volume was the exclusion of faculty from the readership board.

“We decided that the readership board wasn’t going to be a mix of faculty and students anymore, since we were focusing on ‘student’ publication. Because of that, I got to meet a lot of cool underclassmen and make friendships that would not have been possible. It turned us back towards our original purpose of publishing works for people who are scared to publish and need a reason to try it,” Samuelson said.

The Green Light staff are currently hard at work to produce the 4th volume of the journal. Junior English Major Taylor Benton is the Green Light’s format editor and is in charge of structuring the entire journal. Despite the large workload, Benton loves being a member of the Green Light staff because of the sense of accomplishment that comes after producing a new volume.

“I really enjoyed having the experience of editing a journal. It’s just nice to be a part of it. At first, I thought I would be really bored with just editing structure. But, then I realized I was a part of this journal that is now going to be published into a little book that I get to take home. It’s awesome,” Benton said.

The Green Light is still accepting submissions to the journal until December 31st of this year. Benton, Samuelson, and Larson all encourage students to try their hands at creative writing and submit something for the upcoming volume. All short fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, scripts, and more can be submitted to green.light@fresno.edu.

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