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How COVID-19 impacted student life at a one Texas commuter campus – Poynter

Think of “student life” on an American college campus and you’d probably imagine lounging on the quadrangle, evening concerts and enjoying gymnastics games.

But the picture of student life looks different at Texas A&M University in San Antonio – a Hispanic-only 12-year-old college with one residence hall and located in 700 acres of backward Texas countryside.

So what should a student club do to get people to participate?

The student journalists at El Espejo magazine wanted to know, so they Dedicated part of their bi-annual magazine To answer this question.

Some employees are in training in August in San Antonio. (Photo by Barbara Allen)

Jocelyn Sandoval was the editor-in-chief of El Espejo Fall 2021, which was recently honored by the Associated Collegiate Press with a pacemaker in the feature magazine division for four years.

She and her fellow students at El Espejo this semester wanted to examine the specific challenges the pandemic had brought to student life on campus.

The Poynter College Media student journalists were selected through a spring 2021 submission process that asked them to propose an investigation focused on a problem or issue facing the campus. Dozens of student media applied, and seven were selected for the program, which provided custom project planning, ongoing support from Poynter staff and a host of distinguished speakers. Among them was a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner David Barstow, writer for the Atlantic team Ed Young And Sarah Ghanem, which broke the story of Jerry Sandusky as a young reporter.

The project was supported by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.

One of El Espejo’s pieces focused on the men’s basketball club’s efforts to become an integrated team, which would allow them to truly compete at the university level and not just between students. Students also interviewed student activists and club leaders to paint a picture of what student life has been like during the pandemic and where it is heading now.

Of course, the pandemic severely affected the magazine’s staff as well.

“When we went into quarantine it was tough,” Sandoval said. “I expected going back to normal would be very fun and exciting, but faced its challenges in its own way. Although we were in face-to-face classes, we chose to continue coordinating online for our staff meetings.”

This means that the entire magazine was created remotely by students in and around San Antonio.

“You kind of see how strong people are in these times and what drives them forward,” she said.

Sandoval said the project was completed by design editor Jose Castellón and writers Alexandre Chavarria and Joshua Villagomez, while advised by Donna Pazdera and Rick Fisher. Sandoval also credited Head of Student Media Jenny Moore for reporting on the project and encouraging them to apply.

“If we were to advise any other schools carrying out a project like this, I would say, definitely, create a plan in the beginning. It was really important to us. … Have a really specific plan and stick to it; stay organized and stay on schedule.”


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