Jess Gladis: Activism, creativity sparks the making of ‘Zine

Jess Gladis holding magazines.

Age: 22
Year at CHC: Senior
Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Chicago

Jess Gladis recalls being environmentally aware at a young age. She wanted to do something to try to change the trajectory of climate change. As an activist, she has helped create ‘Zines for the Student Insurgent at UO. The publications can be written about anything, giving the producers an immense amount of creative freedom. Gladis focuses her work on politics and counterculture.

The history: “I’ve always considered myself to be creative but starting around middle school I got really into creative writing and storytelling, writing plays, short stories, poetry, things like that. I was lucky to discover a talent and passion for it, and to be part of different kinds of creative communities growing up that cultivated these interests. Heading into college, I was interested in music and environmental journalism. My writing quickly became more political when I discovered the Student Insurgent in my freshman year. I saw a rack in the dorms; I loved the name, the colors, and the punk style presented with it. I went in and told them how I like music and can write well. They sent me out on a pitch to review a house show.”

Favorite story: “I don’t have a favorite ‘Zine I’ve written. Each of them has its own unique story and each publication has a different theme, so there is always something new to write about. I like being able to have creative freedom and express myself through my writing.”

How it helps with school: “It’s hard to be a college student and make ‘Zines. It takes a lot of brain power, time, and capacity. Writing’s been a very fundamental part of the last four years. It’s informed a lot of my values and I don’t think I could go forward and not have it be in my life. it’s a labor of love to me. I don’t think anyone should just be a student. If that’s the core of your identity, I think you have a toxic relationship with work.”

- Story and photo by Alex Rodriguez, Clark Honors College Communications