Most publications at St. Olaf fulfill a particular niche. The Olaf Messenger serves the role of a community newspaper, “The Quarry” is a literary and fine arts magazine, and “The Reed” is a philosophy journal; each produce content in accordance with their traditional role. Passion Project seeks to create a place where these boundaries do not exist, and their method of choice is radical support.
Students publish the Passion Project through their website and Instagram, with a Zine on mutual aid on the way. The flexibility of their digital platform enables the soliciting of all sorts of work. Lifestyle Editor Anna Clements ’22 describes the project as “enthusiasm for the idea of enthusiasm; we wanted to have a place where people could be unabashedly open about the things that they care about.”
The traditional limitations on the sort of things students can create and publish are not present here, and the organization treats anyone’s passions, however disparate, with respect.
“I think what stood out to me is that I really like the idea of … being able to share the little things, or the mundane things you wouldn’t necessarily be sharing,” regular contributor Tienna Brusset ’22 said.
The project responds to St. Olaf’s culture by creating opportunities for anyone to publish work on any topic with almost any format. The goal is not only to publish content online but to exhibit support, interest and empathy for the content and the creator. Passion Project is “making a community where we are radically supportive … there is a political component to how much communal support there is,” Clements said.
Much of the content published over the last semester focused on activism, antiracism and lifting up Black experiences. Similarly, the open, egalitarian and communal ethos surrounding the content of the publication is missing in other places at St. Olaf. Brusset described Passion Project’s position on campus — “I think there is a pressure at St. Olaf to take your passions and use them for something… I think Passion Project provides an opportunity for you to express anything you want to express, it doesn’t have to be this huge labor that exists to further yourself.”
Passion Project serves as an excellent opportunity to bask in people’s passions and to share your own, and it accepts submissions from all students.