I believe that writing and reading can bring us a little extra happiness every day. The more we attempt to understand ourselves and our world at large, the more we can make positive changes not only as individuals, but as a community. That is why our Sunny Star this week, Justin Reyes, is so influential. Spearheading the task of starting an all-Greek newspaper, Justin has been the successful editor of The Odyssey. I am so excited to share his experience with you and if you would like to read some of the articles from The Odyssey, you can visit the official website: http://www.theodysseyonline.com/. Just click on the UCLA category to read Justin’s edition.
1. You are the first editor of The Odyssey at UCLA. Can you tell us about the paper and how your experience has added to your happiness?
The Odyssey is a weekly Greek newspaper written by all Greek’s at UCLA. The Odyssey was first published in Indiana University and came about as a result of Greeks not getting enough or any good positive coverage on their campus newspapers. The newspaper has really helped in highlighting the positive aspects of fraternity and sorority life and has dismissed the common Animal House stereotypes. On top of that Greeks on campus can stay updated on philanthropies and events that are happening around the row. Being the publisher of The Odyssey has made huge contributions to my overall happiness. It has been really great to be really hands in building the paper and establishing it at UCLA. It has taught me business skills that I would never thought I would have developed being that I’m a Political Science major. Talking and getting to know the business community in Westwood and getting Greeks at UCLA excited about the paper has made me overwhelmingly happy about the prospects of the paper. In addition it’s been really great seeing the talented writers come on board who have been a tremendous help in getting The Odyssey on the right footing.
2. How do you think writing adds to our joy?
Writing for the newspaper whether it’s me or the other Greek writers, I believe adds to the joy of the Greek community at UCLA because not only does it give great insight into events or projects that other houses are currently undertaking. But it opens up new positive ideas and perspectives whether insightful or funny being a fraternity brother or sorority sister would never thought about or would realize being in a Greek life. So, writing for the paper has added to the joy of the Greek community in two ways through insightful reflective events or projects or through new ideas and perspectives.
3. What has been your happiest memory regarding the paper so far?
My happiest memory regarding the paper has been seeing the new talented writers come on board. Some of these writers I’m especially privileged to have in regards to the positions they hold on campus and off campus from the Undergraduate Students Association Council to the Westwood neighborhood council. These writers have added in my view, prestige to The Odyssey as well as highlighting the achievements of Greek Life. In addition, I’m especially honored to have Lauren Cook the author and creator of the blog “The Sunny Side Up” and her many achievements. Her column has taught all Greeks about the value of happiness in everyday situations. Another happiest memory I have in regards to the paper has been bringing on board Lee Rubinoff from AEPi as a sales representative for the newspaper without his help and his talent the paper would never have gotten off the ground like it did last year. He has also been instrumental in matching our sales goals and ranking our sales efforts #1 on top of USC and other schools on the west coast. Those two has been the happiest memory I’ve had with The Odyssey so far.
4. What has been the most challenging aspect of the project and how have you been able to overcome this?
The most challenging aspect of the newspaper so far has been building its popularity and getting Greeks to read the newspaper. But in due time with consistent quality features, columns, and articles the Greek community will catch on and its popularity will build from there. Another aspect has really been getting other Greeks to write for the paper. Although we have a tremendous and talented staff of writers, we are still looking for more to contribute to the newspaper. Most of the writers have been brought on board through word of mouth and through friends who know a friend. But again we are still growing and over time I believe all these challenges will come to pass as long as the paper is consistent with quality stories that relate to all Greeks at UCLA.
5. What is your main goal as editor of The Odyssey?
I have two main goals as publisher of The Odyssey. One is to really share ownership with the newspaper with the Greek community. As I have always emphasized that this is not my newspaper but your newspaper as a fraternity brother or sorority sister. This newspaper is meant to reflect the overall views and opinions of Greeks at UCLA as well as to open up a dialogue about Greek Life in general. It will be my personal goal to make sure that all Greeks on campus have a space or open forum where they can express these views. My second goal is to bring to light the different businesses and opportunities there are out there to Greeks, so that they may take advantage of them. These special opportunities and deals are only made exclusive to the Greek community since they were tailored by people who have shared the same experiences in Greek life as we all have.