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Student creativity showcased digitally

Courtesy photo An untitled charcoal and ink portrait made by Alexia Mericer is shown. This was one of many pieces by Bay College students featured in the 2020 edition of Serendipity, which was distributed online earlier this month.

ESCANABA — As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a long-running Bay College publication has been distributed digitally for the first time.

Serendipity is an annual publication showcasing Bay students’ work in the fields of writing and visual art. The publication is composed of pieces submitted by students and put together by student editors. Tthis year, the editors were Halle Gustafson for art and Grace Kraniak for writing.

Normally, hard copies of Serendipity are distributed near the end of Bay’s school year.

“Because campus was closed because of COVID, we had to think of a way to continue the celebration for Serendipity,” faculty advisor for the art portion of the publication Kristine Granger said.

Fortunately, student submissions for Serendipity had been sent in before campus closed. The team behind the publication started looking for ways to distribute these pieces.

“The best way to do that was via a virtual experience,” Granger said.

As part of the process of putting Serendipity online, steps were taken to make the publication as accessible as possible to people who are visually impaired.

“You can click on an image and it allows for alternative text to describe what is to be viewed,” Granger said, noting people can have this text read out loud by using a text-to-speech program.

Gustafson said working on Serendipity remotely made her involvement with the publication particularly memorable.

“It was a different experience, for sure,” she said.

At the time the pandemic hit, Gustafson and Kraniak had scheduled their first meeting regarding Serendipity, which had to be canceled.

“Having everything go online made it a lot more interesting, because we couldn’t meet face-to-face,” she said.

The editors continued to meet online. According to Gustafson, this came with some difficulties.

“Sometimes, I felt like it made the process a little bit slower,” she said.

Still, the final product was worth the effort.

“I was really happy with the end result,” Gustafson said.

Despite the unusual circumstances of its release, Gustafson also said she was glad to be involved with Serendipity this year.

“I had a really fun time with it,” she said.

According to Granger, many of the students who submitted pieces for Serendipity were pleased to see it distributed digitally when it was uploaded earlier this month. She also said a Facebook post announcing the digital publication has been shared by a number of former Bay students and community members.

“We’ve had numerous shares from that,” Granger said.

Now that Serendipity has successfully gone digital, Granger said she and Amber Kinonen – the faculty advisor for the writing portion – have discussed the possibility of creating a dedicated website for the publication. She said continuing to offer Serendipity online could expand its audience.

“It led us into bigger and possibly better ways to share Serendipity in the future,” she said.

However, this does not mean the publication will stop being physically distributed.

“In the fall, when we’re able to, we are going to have a print copy available,” Granger said.

For now, though, Granger said she and other people involved with Serendipity are glad to have a way to put the creativity of Bay’s student body in the spotlight.

“I’m just extremely happy that we were able to continue sharing the students’ work,” she said.

To read the 2020 issue of Serendipity, visit baycollege.edu/on-campus/arts-culture/index.php.

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