A valuable part of my graduate school experience in Austin, Texas was being involved in my church, which had an active student congregation, an Institute of Religion next to campus, and a Latter-day Saint Student Association (LDSSA) campus club.
During my first year, I volunteered as Editor-in-Chief of the Capital Ward Newsletter, a weekly tri-fold with a readership of 100+ that told of the weekly happenings of church members. Now, this wasn’t your usual church newsletter. The Capital Ward Newsletter blended fiction with reality in a fun, Onion-like, photoshopped publication that was known throughout the state of Texas. Each issue featured a cover story, a student spotlight interview, an advice column, humorous quotes overheard during the week, articles about current events, and an inspirational quote.
Church leaders complimented my work for its role in generating energy, excitement, and unity among church members. However, since it made it difficult for people to focus, they requested that it be distributed after the church service. I could see their point, since I had one girl tell me — in all seriousness — that the reason she came to church was to get the latest issue of the newsletter.