Yearbook closes final page
Increasing debt, student apathy forces Corks and Curls to end production
After more than a century of production, the University's student yearbook, Corks and Curls, will no longer line future graduates' shelves.
Though one of the longest running student yearbooks in the country, Corks and Curls began to experience financial problems in 2003, falling further into debt each year as the publication struggled with student apathy, former staff member and 2005 University graduate Whitney Spivey said.
"Every year we sold a few less books and had more trouble getting people to take their pictures," Spivey said, "It just wasn't a priority anymore."
Lorenzo Mah, who worked as photo editor for the 2005 edition, attributed the debt to late fees and mailing costs from which staffs of the following years could not recover.
"It's sad to see anything you worked on die since you've invested so much time on it," Mah said.
Corks and Curls was also a valuable historical artifact, Spivey said. The yearbook was first published in 1888 and the staff was composed of 14 editors - one brother from each of the University's fraternities at the time. Since its founding, Corks and Curls chronicled all aspects of life on Grounds. In 1919 it included a list of students who were killed in World War I, and the 1970 volume described the school's co-ed transformation, joking about unused urinals and discussing lingerie ads in The Cavalier Daily.
"They're very accurate and they document history very well," she said. "That's something that's going to be totally lost."
Today, however, the words "corks and curls" are often met with blank stares or looks of confusion.
Some students may feel that new forms of communication, particularly Facebook, diminish the need to preserve their classmates' memories. Spivey, however, disagreed.
"I know people are into Facebook and social networking," she said. "But I don't think it will preserve memories as well or last as long."
Third-year College student Vanessa Orco never took advantage of the publication in all her years here and does not believe it serves a practical function at a large, public University.
"In high school it's different because it's smaller," she said. "But in college it's different because you can't document everything."
Second-year Maura Tousignait expressed mixed feelings toward the retired publication.
"It's a really nice idea but it's easy to see why it went into bankruptcy," she said. "They're trying to access all parts of student life but that gets expensive and students aren't willing to spend that much money on it."
Past volumes of Corks and Curls have been preserved, and were last showcased in a Rotunda exhibit called "116 Years of Corks & Curls," from 2004 to 2005.
-Bethel Habte contributed to this article