Volunteer for the Gauntlet!
The Gauntlet would not be able to publish without the contributions of volunteers. University of Calgary students produce the entirety of the Gauntlet, and while we have 12 paid staff that help run various areas of the publication, volunteers are invaluable to our day-to-day operations.
Volunteers at the Gauntlet must first complete a volunteer orientation with our volunteer coordinator, Gurman Sahota. You can reach Gurman to schedule an orientation at email@example.com. After this, you can receive story-list emails from editors detailing assignments you can take on, from story-writing to taking photos to creating illustrations. We also hold pitch meetings weekly if you want to meet with editors face-to-face to pitch stories or pick up assignments.
If this all sounds scary to you, don’t worry — every editor and contributor at the Gauntlet started in your shoes as well, and we can walk you through exactly what you need to do. You’ll get the hang of it, we promise!
Here’s answers to some of the questions you may have about volunteering at the Gauntlet.
1. How do I get involved?
Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org is the best way to schedule a volunteer orientation, get added to editor mail-outs and get any of your questions answered. Also feel free to drop by our office anytime during the week to say hi and get to know our editors — we don’t have formal office hours, but there’s usually someone around on school days anytime from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
2. Where is the Gauntlet office?
We’re located on the east third floor of MacHall — that’s the third floor that’s above the Den & Black Lounge and the Q Centre. We had our offices renovated in the summer of 2017, and they’re looking pretty spiffy, if we do say so ourselves. We’ve got couches and workspace available for students. At the very least, it beats eating lunch in the MacHall cafeteria.
3. Do I need experience?
Absolutely not. There isn’t a journalism program at the University of Calgary, meaning that we’re the place on campus for students who want to learn how to do journalism. If you come in with an open mind and a keenness to learn, you’ll do great.
4. What’s the time commitment?
It’s as much or as little as you want. Some contributors write once or twice a semester. Others spend as much time in the office as our full-time staff. Whatever works for you works for us.
5. What’s in it for me?
Learning about journalistic practices and building a portfolio of work at one of Canada’s best student publications — many Gauntlet alumni are now working journalists. If you use the co-curricular record, we can verify your volunteer hours for that. We also award four $500 scholarships to volunteer writers each fall and winter semester!
6. When are meetings?
Our weekly pitch meetings are at 5 p.m. on Tuesdays. Here, section editors discuss stories they’d like to publish in upcoming weeks and volunteers can claim assignments in-person. You can also pitch your own stories to editors at these meetings. Beyond pitch meetings, on one Tuesday near the end of each month, we produce our magazine and provide pizza to all who lend a land, whether by taking photos, copyediting, or helping to write or design.
7. I’d like to be a part of the Gauntlet but I don’t know what I would write about. Will that be a problem?
Nope! While our editors are happy to take story pitches from volunteers, they also pitch their own ideas to volunteer writers. This happens both at the aforementioned pitch meetings but also through “storylists,” which volunteers are added onto after completing their orientation. If any stories interest you, just be the first one to claim it and it’s all yours.
8. Can I help out in any way other than writing?
Of course! We are always looking for volunteer photographers, videographers, illustrators, graphic designers and cartoonists to help out on the visual side of the publication. We’re also happy to have layout help from those with experience with Adobe InDesign.
9. How can I get a job with the Gauntlet?
The editor-in-chief of the Gauntlet is elected by the membership of the Gauntlet Publications Society every March. All editorial staff, board members and volunteers who have contributed at least three times during the semester are considered voting members of the Society.
We also hire each of our editorial board positions — news editor, opinions editor, arts editor, sports editor, humour editor, photographer, online editor, graphic artist, videographer and volunteer coordinator — each March. All these positions are part-time salaried, except for news editor, which is full-time salaried. These positions typically go to dedicated volunteers, so if you’re keen on working at the Gauntlet, get started sooner rather than later!