University of Virginia Yearbook Could Be Making a Comeback

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Courtesy of the University of Virginia

    When Corks and Curls -- the University of Virginia's 122-year-old student yearbook -- was declared dead in 2010, few students mourned its passing. Its demise saddened alumni, but the consensus on Grounds was that it was outdated and being replaced by social media websites such as Facebook.

    But the movement to bring it back recently has gained a foothold.

    The UVa Alumni Association has found two students to revive Corks and Curls. They're hoping to have a printed yearbook next school year, for the graduating class of 2015.

    Tom Faulders, president of the association, recruited undergraduates Michael Buhl and Carly Buckholz to work on the project.

    Faulders said alumni have been trying to revive the yearbook since it was discontinued. Although students can save their college pictures digitally, Faulders said, the yearbook is more than a collection of photographs; it's a historical record.

    "You really get an insight into what the students thought, what the major issues were at the time," he said. "We have Corks and Curls going back to the late 1800s."

    Coy Barefoot, an alumnus and local historian, said the yearbook has been an invaluable resource in his work.

    "It is in so many ways a diary of student life at the university beginning in the 19th century," Barefoot said.

    Corks and Curls was first published in 1888, taking its name from student slang of the time: According to the university's online library, a student who failed to answer a professor's question in class was said to have been "corked." If he (UVa was all-male at the time) gave an outstanding answer, with "a grand flourish of pertinent information," he was said to have "curled."

    The name stuck, even as student lexicon changed. But the yearbook itself couldn't survive declining sales and interest. Students saw no need for it with the advent of Facebook, Faulders said. It was suspended after its 119th edition, published for the 2008 school year, before being permanently shuttered.

    Buhl, a second-year engineering student, said students are beginning to warm up to the idea. He said he wants a memento of his college experience, and that many students feel the same way.

    "It's something I want to show my kids, something that's tangible," Buhl said. "We've been spreading the word, and so far we've gotten a lot of positive feedback for it."

    Buckholz, a second-year student in the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, said students are beginning to understand the fleeting nature of social media sites.

    "Facebook, Twitter and all of those other sites change regularly," Buckholz said. "The book that we hand out next year will be a constant reference for years to come."

    But both students understand the need to keep up with the times. They say they haven't quite nailed down the format they want to use, but they're both sure the next edition of Corks and Curls won't be a standard yearbook with profile pictures and group photos of clubs.

    Buhl said he's envisioning something similar to a coffee table book. The design, he said, will be more modern, and "less boxy and traditional."

    "We're almost trying to make it have a magaziney feel," he said. "It's really hard to explain in words. But we're still in the early stages."

    Buckholz said she's hoping to appeal to alumni, as well as students, with "beautiful photography and strong feature pieces" to draw in graduates who want to get a glimpse inside life at their alma mater.

    The project needs to raise about $30,000 to get off the ground, Faulders said. It will be a one-time cost, he said, to help students get the operation up and running. Faulders said the aim is to help Corks and Curls become a self-supporting enterprise.

    Those wishing to help may send donations to C&C, c/o the UVa Fund, P.O. Box 400314, Charlottesville, Va., 22904-4314. For more information, contact Faulders at 243-9035 or ctf2dx@eservices.virginia.edu.


    By Derek Quizon of The Daily Progress.

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