Spotlight: Bellyband by Carolinian

Early this year when we were producing the spring issue of Carolinian, the University of South Carolina’s alumni magazine, it was a different world — or at least it seems that way now in 20/20 hindsight. Even by early March when we went to press, we couldn’t have known how fast and deadly the COVID-19 pandemic would overtake New York City and other urban hot spots. Two weeks later, our university sent its students, faculty, and staff home for the remainder of the semester, and we decided to delay mailing the magazine. Without any reference in the publication to the pandemic, we feared appearing clueless — like we were blithely going about business-as-usual while thousands were perishing.

As the “new normal” rhythms of life amidst COVID-19 emerged two months later, it seemed OK to mail the magazine but only with some contextual messaging. Reprinting the signatures that contained letters from the university president and alumni association CEO would have been cost prohibitive. But our printer offered a cost-effective solution: a bellyband wrapped around each magazine that provided space for a very visible message from our editor. Craig Brandhorst’s elegant prose offered up just the right tone and message of hope to our alumni readers. And the spring 2020 edition of Carolinian finally made its way home.

Chris Horn, Director of Editorial Projects, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, University of South Carolina