The “Conscious” Campus: Alcalá Review Aims to Unite USD's Artistic Communities

Alcala Review 2018The newest issue of the Alcalá Review, a USD literary journal, will be published and celebrated at a release party on Thursday, Dec. 13 in Salomon Hall.

The Alcalá Review, the first literary journal hosted at USD, is publishing its Fall 2018 Issue on Dec. 13 to the delight of its growing reader base and burgeoning arts community on campus. The work of undergraduate students from across campus and beyond will be showcased in the collaborative publication, first unveiled at this week’s event.

As the final edits are completed and the printing process begins, it is worth looking at the history of the young student organization. The Alcalá Review was launched as an online publication to Cropper Creative Writing Contest, an opportunity for students to get recognized, published, and rewarded for their artistic creations. Barrie and Dorothy Cropper, honoring their late daughter, set up the contest in 2004 along with the Lindsay J. Cropper Center for Creative Writing. Within this cozy Founders Hall space, the Alcalá Review was born.

Although the journal began as a showcase of the award winners, a broader array of student work falls under the publication’s scope. Biannually, undergraduate aspirants may submit their previously unpublished work in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, photography and visual art. The broad reach of the publication is by design. The vibrant journal has thrived in the open and collaborative environment spurned by its members.

“We are demonstrating that there is a community on campus that is culturally, politically, and artistically conscious,” says Editor-in-Chief Thomas Dolan ’21. A prose writer and an early convert to the English Department, Dolan feels compelled to raise the profile of the art community on campus. “There are a number of strong creative communities on campus, but they remain relatively isolated. We want to connect them.”

In its aim to amplify the diverse voices on campus, the Alcalá Review has undergone its own transformation. The tight-knit organization is grappling with a shift in leadership and direction as its founding members have graduated. Its 18 members and their beloved faculty advisor Malachi Black, PhD, have seized the opportunity to steer the publication in exciting new directions.

The push for greater distribution will bring the journal to new vendors such as the Torero Store and the online marketplace of Amazon. The official website launched earlier this year, but the commitment to print remains strong as evidenced by a reduced price of $10. The Alcalá Review has even brought Open Mic Night back to the walls of the renovated Aromas coffee shop.

In spite of these changes, the original spirit of the Alcalá Review remains. On Monday nights, writers, editors, and contributors come together to perform the weekly business of publishing an independent literary journal. It doesn’t feel like business. Dolan reflects, “it’s refreshing to come to a space where everyone shares a unifying passion.” 

Want to join the conversation?

The Alcalá Review Publishing Party will be hosted in Salomon Hall in Maher Hall on Thursday, December 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. Print copies can be purchased for $10. Following the official release, additional copies may be found in the Torero Store, in Copley Library, or on

— Michael Bennett ’19


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