Q Mag — New Student Environmental Publication — Releases First Issue

URBANA, Ill. — The Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) is proud to announce publication of the first online issue of Q Magazine, featuring articles by University of Illinois students enrolled in the Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Writing.

is the first student-written, professionally produced publication of its kind — and is “at the cutting edge of student environmental journalism,” said Gillen Wood, iSEE Associate Director for Education and Outreach. “Students in our Certificate in Environmental Writing (CEW) work with a specific purpose: to turn data into narrative. We expect them to raise vital questions about our environmental future — and to  find answers through engagement with current environmental science, politics, and policy.”

Wind, waves, and high water drive the lead stories in the inaugural edition of Q. English major David Marcus investigates how climate change and rising water are threatening doom for South Florida and other coastal communities, while journalism major Melissa Wagner explores the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma on the Caribbean island paradise of St. Thomas.

Other stories include the life and legacy of Chicago’s Hazel Johnson, known as “The Mother of Environmental Justice”; the history of the iconic bison on the U.S. prairies; the pharmaceutical potential of fungi; an anthropomorphic look at ants; and the environmental costs of clean dishes (our addiction to dish soap …).

“The sustainability of our planet is everyone’s business,” U of I Provost Andreas Cangellaris said. “This new magazine from Illinois stands out as an exemplar of how a university community can come together to learn, debate, share, and communicate how today’s scientific and technological advances leave no room for doubt or excuses about our ability — and our responsibility — to attend to this critical and pressing cause.

“I am very proud of our students and our community leading the way.”

Headed by Wood, the Langan Professorial Scholar of Environmental Humanities, the CEW is an interdisciplinary sustainability program co-sponsored by iSEE, the School for Earth, Society, and Environment (SESE), and the Department of English.

Q Magazine is a vivid example of the fresh leadership in environmental issues provided by the current generation of Illinois students,” SESE Director Bob Rauber said. “Our students are stepping up to the plate, tackling the tough environmental issues facing all of us, while at the same time educating us about our everyday world.

“How many times have I lived through Zack Fishman’s great story about ants in the kitchen? I am afraid that in the future, I will have to let these fascinating critters haul away all my crumbs while I gaze at them with a magnifying glass!”

Q Magazine’s editorial board consists of Wood, SESE Clinical Associate Professor Rob Kanter, a student editor, and the Institute’s communications staff. iSEE will publish two online issues each year, with a glossy print version published annually. Through Q, student writers will learn invaluable communications skills, experience public exposure of their writing, and have polished, professional work to show to potential employers.

Visit the website at q.sustainability.illinois.edu.

— Tony Mancuso, iSEE Communications and Public Affairs Director