Alternative spaces, radical thought: exploring Guilford’s own Disorientation Guide

By Alayna Bradley, Staff Writer

“Take walks.  Be in the woods for a while.  Take classes that are outside your comfort zone.  Don’t be scared to care about things.”

Handwritten in thick black lettering, these are a few of the suggestions found in the Disorientation Guide under the title “How to get the most from your tuition.”

You may have noticed copies of the Disorientation Guide lying around campus.  A discrete-looking black-and-white booklet, the zine is packed full of information that is designed to help students navigate and process life at Guilford.

But what is a zine?

“Simply, a zine is a DIY (Do it Yourself) pamphlet or short magazine,” explains Rose McIntyre, one of the Disorientation Guide’s contributors. “It is usually self-made, published, and distributed on a small scale.”

Zines are often found in collective spaces, such as cooperatives and other alternative communities. The Greenleaf Coffee Cooperative boasts its very own Zine Archive, a collection of publications ranging from “perzines,” which focus on a personal narrative or experience, to zines that tackle history, politics, and gender, and often an intersection of multiple topics.

Disorientation Guides can be found on college campuses around the country. Places like University of California at Berkeley to Evergreen State have ones that come out every year in time to acclimate incoming first-years.

Fourth year Giovanna Selvaggio, who helped compile and publish the Disorientation Guide, said that she saw the need for a campus publication written by students, for students.

“The zine offers a venue for students to share wisdom among themselves without the administration’s critical eye, editing, or backing,” said Selvaggio.

Self-publication removes the need to follow specific formats, such as MLA or APA, which are forms that traditionally lend validation to published work, but also limit scope and creativity.  Many zines use academic research and contain citations while presenting information in a way that defies academic and scholarly convention.

“I like the zine because is allows students to get their ideas across without too much interference from faculty,” said second year Allison Stalberg after reading the Disorientation Guide. “I think it’s great that students to have access to a publication like this because it teaches them things about Guilford that they wouldn’t get otherwise.”

The zine takes on a wide range of topics, from defining consent to transgender etiquette to successfully navigating the Caf.  While Guilford’s administration does, to some extent, address these topics, the zine format allows information to be distributed in a way that encourages student-to-student accountability.

“I feel that we can’t have expectations for the community (here at Guilford), then be upset when people break those expectations,” Selvaggio explains.  The zine seeks to outline some of these expectations in a way that is student-oriented and dedicated to the larger Guilford community.

Selvaggio will not be able to publish another disorentation guide this year.  While intentional student involvement with this publication was low, she hopes that Disorientation Guides specific to Guilford’s campus will be published in years to come.  A zine focusing on trans* politics is in the works for the spring semester.

Many students come to Guilford seeking an environment in which self-care, inclusivity, and radical discourse are emphasized.  While Guilford still has much ground to cover in creating this space for members of the Guilford community, the Disorientation Guide is one step in this process.

Be sure to get your hands on one of these zines and, as the first pages says, “Read with Care. This shit matters.”

Visit the Greenleaf’s Zine Library to check out the Disorientation Guide and other zines or email Giovanna Selvaggio (selvaggiostixgx@guilford.edu) if you are having trouble locating a copy.

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4 thoughts on “Alternative spaces, radical thought: exploring Guilford’s own Disorientation Guide

  1. All of the information used in the zine was used with the consent of the authors or participants, and authors had the choice of attaching their name to the piece or leaving it anonymous. The comics used in the zine were printed with permission from the artists. I might be confused about your question, is there a specific article or piece of the zine that you have questions about?

    1. “While intentional student involvement with this publication was low, she hopes that Disorientation Guides specific to Guilford’s campus will be published in years to come.”

      I’m assuming Samantha is responding to this and wondering what unintentional student involvement would look like. I guess I just am not sure why the word intentional was needed. Probably more of a question for Alayna than anyone else.

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