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Budget cuts force Dialogue down to three issues

Photo courtesy Michael Kelly.
Photo courtesy Michael Kelly.

Calvin College has seen a round of budget cuts across campus this year, and student organizations, such as Dialogue, are no exception.

In the last three years, Dialogue has experienced a total of 46 percent budget cuts, said Michael Kelly, the publication’s editor-in-chief. According to Kelly, the publication was once heavily funded by Calvin.

Dialogue is Calvin’s free quarterly magazine that showcases poetry, artwork, photography and short stories by members of Calvin’s community. It is aimed at starting conversations within the community and opening up artistic outlets for expression.

“We are a student organization created to give students, alumni, faculty and staff an artistic outlet to  express themselves,” said Kelly. “And we rely entirely on funding through Calvin.”

As a result of the budget cuts, Dialogue will only be able give readers three issues for the year instead of its usual four.

Kelly expressed disappointment but he is understanding of the situation.

“I think the budget cuts are fair, but it is definitely not prioritized well; we are a liberal arts college after all,” said Kelly. “I also feel a little disappointed. I believe in creativity — it should be fostered and encouraged. With the budget cuts, it will mean one less chance to express creativity.”

Kelly also hopes Calvin’s administration will evaluate how the budget is formed for next year.

“At the moment we are evaluated based on numbers, but with a publication like ours it is hard to measure that quantitatively. We hope our evaluation will be more qualitative than quantitative.”

Calvin’s community hopes that the budget cuts won’t increase in the coming years.

“Dialogue was a big part of my Calvin career,” said 2013 alumnus Martin Avila. “It gave me a chance to express myself by showcasing my art. I would hate to see it gone as a result of the budget cuts.”

Kelly said Dialogue staff will also be affected by the budget cuts.

“Despite the fact that we are a Calvin publication, our staff are all unpaid,” Kelly said. “I am very thankful for my staff at Dialogue who have been faithful and wonderful. But the budget cuts mean no rewarding for anyone; we won’t have any retreats which would help with team building. We also are not able to afford any training, such as web development, which would help improve Dialogue.”

Kelly expressed hope despite the difficult situation.

“We are hopeful for a great magazine,” Kelly said. “By going down to three issues rather than four, we can focus and spend more time building the quality of each issue. We are looking at the brighter side.”

Kelly hopes the budget cuts will not hinder the Calvin community from getting involved with Dialogue. Kelly also hopes readers will use other methods to support them.

“We hope more of the Calvin community will get involved with Dialogue. Even if they don’t want to send us their creative work, we would love for them to send us messages about how much they love Dialogue. We need the community to voice their support,” Kelly said.

The deadline for the upcoming issue is Nov. 1. Kelly encourages all those interested to contact Dialogue at Dialogue.submissions@gmail.com.

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