Élan’s community engagement is an extremely important part of what this student magazine does because of the outreach. As a small class, we are always looking for ways to connect with our audience, and interact with them in ways that produce a positive outcome. These events that Élan has participated over the past year (Yellow House, Color Me Kona, LaVilla workshop) have boosted our image to the local literary community. Élan shouldn’t be an invisible face to the public. To me, engagement and outreach to our audience is something that makes me proud to be on the staff; when explaining what we do to a crowd, I know that we are making an impact in the literary world, even if it’s just a small one.
This year, as a junior, I have had the honour of being on the Color Me Kona team. Before the day of the event I was building with anticipation and excitement at the thought of putting Élan out there; during the event I was proven right. Several people came up to our booth to look through our magazine, and ask questions. Élan was showing itself to others in a way it has never done before. Being on a field with other artists’ work felt like we belonged there. My role felt completed; my hard work helping the team paid off in a wonderful, successful way. The process of building a mural, making bookmarks, and coming up with ideas for audience engagement took a lot of team effort, but the results were more than I would’ve expected. It made me excited for more events (soon, they are coming soon). I want Élan to be at every local literary event there is because without engaging, and participating with our audience (and the people we have not reached yet), Élan will never grow farther. As a member of the staff, I want this magazine to succeed in bigger, better ways, and I truly think that doing community events will help with that goal. As a writer, I felt encouraged seeing other artists so deeply involved in their art. Color Me Kona was truly the place Élan needed to be.
– Luz Mañunga, Junior Digital Media Editor