Many students in their final undergraduate semester at Mines are simply trying to power through the last bit of coursework and walk away with that precious sheet of silver. As for senior Zachary Orlove, there’s quite a bit more on his mind. Orlove is a man on a mission, dedicating his last several months at Mines to reviving what was once a proud staple of Oredigger life: The Prospector.
The tradition of a yearbook at Mines began in 1913, and The Prospector was published annually every year since, up until the late 1990’s before fizzling out due to lack of funding and interest. The last incarnation of the yearbook was published in 2004, and was the final attempt to bring back the tradition; until now. The idea started over winter break when Orlove was skiing with the Board of Trustees Student Representative, Sevy Swift.
“We were complaining about school spirit,” said Orlove. “We were coming up with ways to stop the negativity.” Orlove cited that many current students and alumni can dwell on the stress associated with Mines, and overlook some of the best times of their lives. “[The alumni] have such a bad outlook on the school when they leave,” said Orlove. “One of the ways we could improve on the memories for alumni is to capture the positive moments.”
When asked why it was important for a university to have a yearbook, Orlove made sure to reframe the question. “The question is ‘why is it important for Mines to have this yearbook?’” said Orlove. “We have the chance to come together as a community and have over 1,000 people participate in writing one yearbook. It’s an opportunity so unique that we have to take it.”
When looking for inspiration, Orlove turned to one of the first iterations of The Prospector. The thing that captivated him most was the senior section. Every senior had the chance to write their own biography; a summary of themselves, their time at Mines and how they wanted to be remembered. “This yearbook is not my yearbook,” said Orlove. “It’s not Blue Key’s, it’s not the yearbook of the administration. The Prospector is truly the student’s yearbook,” said Orlove. “That’s what makes it special; The Prospector is a celebration of each individual, their medium to be heard.”
Since most yearbook productions start at the beginning of the academic year, Orlove has been working as hard as possible, with his team of student volunteers (primarily members of Blue Key) to catch up on lost time. “I took 3.5 credit hours this semester, and I need something to do,” admitted Orlove. “We have been busting ass to organize all the collection processes, to coordinate everybody together, to get the school together to write this thing.”
Perhaps the most unique part of this project is that the revenue stream is not coming from students. “I have been meeting with alumni, PCJ, and other higher ups in the organization to secure funding for a free yearbook [for graduating seniors]”, said Orlove. There will be several hundred additional copies available for purchase for underclassmen.
Most of the logistics have come together; funding is secured, a publisher has been chosen and work has started on organizing all the pieces. The only thing left to do is get the content. “If we can get 1,000 seniors to produce their best 1/6th of a page,” said Orlove, “we will have a spectacular yearbook that’s worth all the work.” Underclassmen have the chance to participate as well. The Prospector team is currently accepting art submissions to serve as transition pages, as well as the inside front and back cover. Be sure to check the Daily Blast, as well as the Mines Instagram page for links to the submission pages.