Campus magazine promotes unity

In one of the tiniest corners of Tucker Hall stands a converted faculty office stocked with eight desks and only nine computers. The 30 students who use the space, (though not all at the same time), work there in the hopes of creating the best campus magazine in America. On the office’s paper-lined desks and chalk-ridden boards, the average passerby can see Journey magazine’s vision coming together.

“This year, my vision has been to bring the stories of the student body to life. Just with (Journey) being here to tell the stories of triumph, recovery and of life lessons that people can relate to,” said Editor in Chief Russell Nichols, a senior magazine production student from Richmond, Calif.

Journey’s staff is celebrating the magazine’s third issue with its first organized event of the year. The event, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Lee Hall, is called “Rattler Connection.” It is a dating showcase for FAMU singles and couples centered around Valentine’s Day and Journey’s Love and Relationship issue.

The showcase is set to feature three question-and-answer challenges for participating students. The competitions, “Blind Rattler,” “Rattler Duo” and “Rattler Elimination,” will feature a diverse group of pre-selected applicants.

“Blind Rattler” is the singles portion of the showcase based on the TV game show “The Dating Game.” One female student will be separated from three male students by a divider and ask them questions. The young lady will then have to choose one male contestant based solely on his answers and personality. Senior public relations student Latoya Marshall, the event’s organizer, said she believes removing the visual aspect of a relationship will make for an interesting program.

“(The divider) presents a challenge because in society, we go off of looks so much people hardly get a chance to learn the inner person,” said Marshall, Journey’s public relations director.

The second game, “Rattler Duo” is based on “The Newlywed Game,” in which couples answer questions about one another to win prizes. The winning couple will receive tickets to Universal Studios in Orlando.

“Rattler Elimination,” based on MTV’s “Singled Out,” will feature one student eliminating members from a large pool of participants by choosing between specific characteristics such as hair color.

Audience members at “Rattler Connection” will be treated to more than the games.

With live vocal performances and entertainment from DJ Flu to door prizes and giveaways, Journey guarantees an exciting evening for all Rattlers.

“We’re expecting a sold out show, so get your tickets early,” said Iesha Crutchfield, Journey’s marketing director.

Nichols said the events and themes stem from a special benchmark the magazine has hit.

“This is Journey’s biggest issue ever – 64 pages – and Journey turns 21 this year,” he said. “So she is grown up…she’s not a baby anymore.”

The magazine is also celebrating its 21st birthday with a decidedly more grown-up approach to content.

“With the love and relationship issue, we wanted to cover all the aspects of love and relationships from AIDS, to rape, to the untitled relationships, to friendships to relationships with your parents,” Nichols said.

Issue three marks the return of Journey’s Super Singles, a group of 10 Rattlers who are looking for love and are not afraid to advertise it. The magazine will also feature students’ candid experiences with rape and domestic violence. And the cover story is one of hope, chronicling the trials of a student who is soon to be married.

In maturing thematically, Journey’s dedicated business team has put together “Rattler Connection” to promote the magazine’s relevance to students.

“A primary reason for the event is for Journey to bring awareness to the whole campus about what Journey does,” said Carla Jones, a senior magazine production student from Detroit. She’s also Journey’s business manager. “We’re showcasing the student body giving the opportunity to share their talent and to have fun…all in the name of love.”

“It’s not like the [African Love Week] auction. This is FAMU’s first dating showcase. We’re not really bidding on people…we’re just connecting Rattlers.”

The Journey staff definitely wants the magazine to become a stronghold for unity and connectivity for the FAMU community.

“We are all walking paths of our own,” Nichols said. “We each have a journey that we are taking. And we all have issues with love and relationships of our own. So in that sense we are all connected.”

Contact Robbyn Mitchell at