New Year, New Board

We are excited to announce that Sphaera Magazine has a new board! In this article, you can meet the new board members. We would like to collectively thank the previous board for all their hard work making Sphaera what it is today, and we hope to be able to fill your shoes!

Yasmina, Editor in Chief: 

Initially, I joined Sphaera pretty informally with plans of becoming a writer. I remember attending my first writer’s session, nervous but excited to have a place to go to socialise, to discuss ideas for articles, get my creative juices flowing and, of course, eat all the free snacks. But, because of the pandemic, that ended up being my first and last writer’s session. Somewhere in between I saw the opportunity to become an editor. I knew it would be the perfect opportunity to get involved in a more consistent way. I’ve always been an avid reader and writer, so this just seemed like the natural next step. I applied and soon enough I was an editor. I had no idea that I would enjoy editing so much – everything from correcting minor mistakes to ensuring readability and accessibility. I have read and edited many articles, with topics ranging from the philosophical origins of ‘progress’ to sustainable fashion. The breadth, range, accessibility, and diversity of the articles Sphaera publishes has always impressed me.

The more I edited, the more Sphaera’s ethos resonated with me and the more I identified with it. How incredible is it that students have an outlet to express themselves in writing and art? To draw attention to issues, personally relevant to them or otherwise, that others may never have heard of? Sphaera has truly become a safe space where students can publish their work, even when they’ve never done so before. That is what I love the most about Sphaera, it gives students the opportunity to connect, to contribute, to express. Especially in the middle of a seemingly never-ending pandemic, it is more important now than ever. Our community is incredibly supportive of one another, never misses an opportunity to pat each other on the back for their accomplishments and are so warm and welcoming to newcomers. I remember when I published my first article, nervous and scared as I was, I was quickly reassured and frankly overwhelmed by the support that I received from the Sphaera community. I could really go on and on about what makes Sphaera so special, but it really is a great community and platform with an ethos that welcomes all. 

That being said, it is a huge honor to be the new Editor in Chief. I am really excited to continue the work of my predecessors and make this a platform accessible to all, to see Spahera grow in its breadth and reach, to getting to know all of our contributors,  and, of course, I look forward to more of your rich and diverse articles and art that make this magazine what it is. Above all, I look forward to continuing to make Sphaera a place where writers and artists can comfortably and freely express themselves. And lastly, to the previous board- thank you for working so hard and for building this platform for students from the ground up. We owe it all to you!

Arianna, Head of Administration: 

My journey with Sphaera started at the beginning of this academic year. During my first year studying International Relations and Organizations, I had become super caught up in my studies and so I had not really gotten to enjoy all of the amazing student initiatives Leiden University has to offer. I told myself, “This year, you are going to get involved in something, try to meet more people”. Being that I am not super social, that was quite the struggle at first. But then, one summer day I was scrolling through instagram, and saw that someone had posted about Sphaera magazine in their story. I was instantly intrigued, and after scrolling through the website, I thought that the magazine was the perfect way to get involved in a student organization while also pursuing my passion for writing, and so I submitted my first article to Jacco. After that, I guess you could say the rest was history.

Overall, my favorite things about Sphaera include how supportive the writers and illustrators are of each other, and the fact that we have such a talented and creative team of writers and illustrators. When I published my first article, I remember it being sent in the chat, and then people responded with congratulatory messages. At first I thought “Oh, maybe this is just because I am a new writer”. However, it became apparent that, in reality, the Sphaera community is just super supportive, always encouraging and congratulating writers and illustrators for their work – which is something I really admire about Sphaera. Not only that, but I think it is really unique as a student organization to have custom illustrations for each article, and along with the content of the articles, seeing the amazing artwork is something I always look forward to. 

While serving on this board, I hope that for the most part things run smoothly so you do not have to notice me too much, but also that I get to know more of the writers, editors, and illustrators who make Sphaera possible. What’s more, I hope to create a stronger sense of community amongst all contributors, which would be all the more meaningful in these times of Covid-19. With that, I hope to incorporate the ideas of and work with all Sphaera contributors to get their input on what they want to see happen with the magazine. 

Juni, Head of Submissions:

I got my first journal for my 5th birthday. It was pink, and I wrote in it almost every single day.  Sometimes about the weather (usually cold), sometimes about food (usually good), in general just about the small things in life, as I was a somewhat small human. Since then my interests have changed with me, but my love for writing has always been constant. 

Today, I am incredibly proud and grateful for the fact that I get to be part of something that makes me feel slightly less small than I was seventeen years ago. Seeing how Sphaera has grown into the diverse, supportive and creative community it is, really motivated me into applying for the position I now possess. I am incredibly excited to get to know my fellow board members and all our amazing writers, editors and illustrators, and to continue building the community the previous board started, to the best of our abilities. I look forward to seeing new ideas become reality, and new writers create things they’ll be proud of for many years to come. 

Helena, Head of Social Media:  

It has been a little over a year now since I wrote my first article for Sphaera. I was first introduced to the magazine through Chira Tudoran, our former Head of Illustrations, since we followed classes together and quickly became friends the moment we met. Although I had always been interested in writing, I never thought my writing would be good enough to be published. Chira really had to push me to get me out of my comfort zone and apply for a position as writer for Sphaera. However, I quickly found myself writing articles for fun and relaxation. 

Sphaera completely won over my heart and I found myself with ambitions to help Sphaera grow, as I wanted more people to read the articles written by the writers team and see the beautiful artwork from our illustrative team, all accompanied by amazing editing work from the team and the coordination of the former board. This is why I applied for the position of Head of Social Media when the vacancy opened. It is my ambition to help Sphaera grow and expand across platforms as well as through contacts with other organisations. I was able to find Sphaera through contact with someone who I am now able to call a dear friend, and hope to become that point of contact for many more people to follow. 

One of my favourite memories from my time as a writer for Sphaera so far is the opportunity I got to interview the South Korean Ambassador to The Netherlands. The experience itself, as well as what it has taught me about diplomacy, international relations, and the art of interviews is worth so much to me. Another article I really enjoyed working on is the joint article ‘A Student’s Guide to Sustainable Fashion’ with Juni, Arianna, Yasmina, and Emma. This article is both representative of a topic which I am very interested in, sustainability, as well as the amazing contacts and friendships I have been able to form throughout my time at Sphaera. 

Oscar, Head of Illustration:

I joined Sphaera a year ago now. Having previously studied art and illustration, I wanted to maintain a creative activity alongside my studies, and being an illustrator for Sphaera seemed like the perfect way to do that. The day I joined, Jacco invited me to a writers’ event. I went with Juni (the new Head of Submissions) and it immediately made me understand the spirit of Sphaera: casual and open. Writers were sharing ideas for new articles, conversations were interesting and it immediately made me feel part of a great group.

When I joined, Chira was the only illustrator and was doing a tremendous job at keeping up with one illustration a week. Since then, Mira, Emma and Doga joined us. We now have a great team of illustrators where each of us has their own style and I am extremely proud to be part of it.

Overall, I hope Sphaera will continue to serve as a platform for students to express themselves and will remain a source of interesting and critical discussions that reflect the diversity of our community. I warmly thank the previous board members who did an amazing job at building such a great project and look forward to helping it grow further!