Nicole Lavelle wants to bring alternative media into the lives of students and provide them with access to information and publishing opportunities. The PSU undergraduate acts as a liaison between the annual Portland Zine Symposium event and the PSU student group of the same name that helps run the symposium.
Nicole Lavelle wants to bring alternative media into the lives of students and provide them with access to information and publishing opportunities.
The PSU undergraduate acts as a liaison between the annual Portland Zine Symposium event and the PSU student group of the same name that helps run the symposium. The group was started, Lavelle said, to raise awareness among students about how they can be more directly involved with alternative media, by giving them access to resources within the city.
Lavelle has an enthusiasm for books and zines, and this enthusiasm is a driving force behind her ultimate goal of incorporating alternative media into Portland State culture.
Although the Portland Zine Symposium has commonly been held on campus, Lavelle said students have traditionally had little involvement in the event. As student liaison in the group, it is her duty to help bridge the creative gap between symposium organizers and students.
The student group is still in the outreach stage and is looking to expand contacts and bring in members of local zine culture.
“PSU is such a large community that it can be extremely difficult for students who share similar passions to meet and speak about those shared interests,” Lavelle said. “One thing that has hurt our exposure is the fact that since we are such a small group, we never meet in the same room in Smith.”
There are five student members in the Portland Zine Symposium group, and meetings are held two times a month. The group meets every other Sunday at 1 p.m. in Smith Memorial Student Union to discuss current zines they are working on and how to properly promote zine culture.
“With the nice weather approaching, we will be outside more often, talking to students about zines and how they can get involved if interested. I think the warm weather will help increase student turnout,” Lavelle said.
This year’s Portland Zine Symposium will be held Aug. 23 and 24 at PSU, later than usual, Lavelle said, because she wants to increase student turnout by making it closer to fall term.
Lavelle works at Reading Frenzy, the downtown independent bookstore, and hopes that this year’s eighth annual symposium will strengthen independent publications throughout the city.
“PSU is a microcosm of Portland,” Lavelle said. “I only hope that after this year’s event more students will want to get involved with the local DIY culture.”
During the two-day symposium, workshops and panel discussions are held along with the opportunity to read zines and exchange ideas with others.
Lavelle said that she has met with numerous students who like to read zines, but are unsure about how to access the proper resources to make their own, or distribute them around town.
To help zines remain at the forefront of Portland’s alternative media culture, supporters must continue to stay active in spreading the benefits and pleasures of do-it-yourself culture, Lavelle said.
“Alternative media is so important,” she said. “We live in a culture bombarded by consumer media. We can’t help but consume. Alternative media offers a breath of fresh air in this smog-filled concept. Zines are great because they are widely accessible. We want to make sure that people know zines are not just for weirdos or alternative kids.”
For more information about the symposium and other alternative media events throughout Portland, visit www.pdxzines.com.