Ontarion staff
From left, Ontarion staff Alyssa Ottema, Stephanie Coratti, Emily Jones, Matthew Azevedo, Adrien Potvin, Carly Jenkins and Al Ladha. Photo by Susan Bubak

Editor Emily Jones says big changes are underway this year at The Ontarion, beginning with the student newspaper’s annual Back to School Guide. It is the biggest publication The Ontarion has ever produced.

“The Back to School Guide is filled with articles that will help students feel welcomed, get involved, be prepared and stay safe in their time spent in Guelph,” she says. The guide is a special publication with sections that feature the city, student life, health and well-being, and school and studies. She adds: “The Ontarion’s weekly publication consists of news, arts and culture, sports and health, life and opinion.”

Published on Thursdays, the first weekly issue of the semester appeared on newsstands Sept. 11.

The Ontarion is a not-for-profit print and online publication that is produced right here at the University of Guelph by volunteers and Ontarion staff members. The print publication was established in 1951 and has been running strong ever since, adapting to the ever-changing world of publishing,” says Jones.

She notes The Ontarion will be recruiting new student volunteers throughout the fall semester; they need about 15 volunteer writers and photographers. “It’s an opportunity to get involved on campus and within the community, as well as an opportunity to get your writing and photography published. It is also an opportunity to make connections for future employment.”

Many of the newspaper’s regular staff got their start as student volunteers, and six are Guelph alumni. The current staff complement includes Jones, BA ’14, as editor-in-chief and section editors Alyssa Ottema, BA ’14, news; Adrien Potvin, a current student covering arts and culture; and Stephanie Coratti, a current student editing sports and health. The other staff members are photo and graphics editor Matthew Azevedo, B.Comm. 14; advertising manager Al Ladha, B.Comm. ’05; office manager Lorri Taylor, BA ’80; office co-ordinator Vanessa Tignanelli, BA ’12; and Carly Jenkins as director of layout and design. Salvador Moran is the paper’s circulation director.

Jones explains that student writers pick up story ideas at weekly volunteer meetings and then do the research and interviews necessary to write the stories for each Monday’s deadline. Volunteers also take photos for the paper. Story assignments vary from special lectures to live concerts, sports and opinion pieces. “There is a lot going on around campus and throughout the city that we want to bring attention to. The volunteers are a key part of making the paper a success.”

The Ontarion office – located in the University Centre, Room 264 – was recently revamped, so past volunteers will find the space brighter, more modern and more welcoming. And Jones says there are more opportunities this fall for writing, photography and copy editing. The Ontarion is also recruiting volunteers to join its board of directors, and welcomes students, alumni and U of G employees to inquire.

“If you are not interested in writing, editing or photography, but you’d still like to volunteer, the board of directors might be the missing link,” she says. Board committees range from public relations to human resources. “Sitting on the board is a unique opportunity; it allows people to understand the inner workings of a not-for-profit newspaper and gain experience in a business setting.”

Students will learn more about The Ontarion this semester as newspaper staff visit classrooms and present at club days. “The Ontarion is looking to be an even stronger presence in the campus community, and we hope that all students will be a part of it,” says Jones. “Please join us at a volunteer meeting – Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in UC 264 – or just stop by to see our new space and say hello.”