The University of Southern Mississippi’s yearbook, the Southerner, stopped being published in 2015. But one student hopes to bring the yearbook back next year.
Maxwell Greenough, a junior Sports Management major, is also a fourth generation Golden Eagle. Greenough said he grew up looking at the Southerner with all of his cousins, aunts and any other family members who went to Southern Miss.
“My grandmother’s mother was the first one who came [to Southern Miss] when it was Mississippi Normal[,] and it changed to State Teachers College while she was enrolled there,” he said. “My mom is the youngest of eight and all of them came to Southern Miss throughout the years, from the 70s to the 90s.”
Greenough did not know the Southerner was gone until he transferred to Southern Miss last year. He said that, because of how important it was to him growing up, he wanted to see if there was something he could do to revive the Southerner. The current plan is to bring back the yearbook in some form next year to celebrate classes being back in person.
“What we’re envisioning for that, at most, it will be an actual yearbook[,] and at least it will be a magazine of some sort, kind of a thinner preview of student organizations,” Greenough said. “Let [the student organizations] have a chance to tell what they did, more than just a picture of them and a motto.”
Edgar Simpson Ph.D., the Director of The School of Communication, said a lot of universities have gotten away from printed yearbooks. He said a yearbook does not serve a universal purpose in college like it does in most elementary or high schools, as everyone’s journey in college is different.
“That means there is a challenge for the yearbook, what is our purpose or what mission do we serve for those students,” Simpson said. “I do see why the university went away from it, but I think it is a really good idea to talk about what version of it can be brought back and how we can do that.”
Simpson said, if there is a group of students with a desire to create a yearbook, then he is committed to helping them get there. He thinks doing outreach and gaining interest in the yearbook would be helpful in figuring out what it would eventually look like.
Greenough also said he thinks some alumni would like to see the yearbook come back in some form. He plans to put a message in The Talon to explain the situation to alumni and possibly garner more support for bringing it back.
“All of my aunts and uncles were very involved and loved their time here,” Greenough said. “[They] had no idea we did not have a yearbook anymore.”
Greenough plans to go to the School of Communication to garner interest in working on the project. Simpson said the project would need a dedicated group of students to make it a reality. He added that, when students approach faculty with ideas they feel passionate about, the faculty will try to knock down possible barriers to help get students where they want to go.
“I do see the School of Communication being the correct home for something like this,” Simpson said. “I’m open to anything, as long as it works for where the kids want to go[,] I’m open to it.”
If you want to show support for the plan or to provide help with the project, you can email Maxwell Greenough at firstname.lastname@example.org.