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‘Yes, We Have A Yearbook:’ Emily Takeda Creates Memorabilia For The UCI Community

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As UCI Anthology Yearbook’s previous motto stated: “yes, we have a yearbook.” Crafted by a club consisting of editors and interns, the UCI yearbook exists to record memorable stories, events, issues and trends of the year. Alongside other school publications such as New University and New Forum, Anthology Yearbook is a part of showcasing student life and amplifying student voice. 

The publication is led by Emily Takeda, a third year student majoring in biological sciences as well as criminology, law and society. As editor in chief, Takeda oversees the production and serves as a link between the various sections, including copy, design, academics and administration, photography, university life and marketing. She also relays information between the Yearbook staff, campus departments, the printing company Walsworth and the senior portrait company Lauren Studios. As a leader, Takeda emphasizes the five purposes of the UCI Anthology Yearbook: education, history, memories, reference and public relations. 

“Ultimately, we want to live up to the five purposes of Yearbook while we’re conducting all of these interviews so we can capture what makes UCI, UCI,” Takeda said. “As editor in chief, it’s my job to make sure that the interns and editors are living up to this motto.”

Takeda’s yearbook career can be traced back to high school, where she participated in the class for three years and served as editor in chief during her junior and senior years. Her experience in high school drove her to join Anthology Yearbook in college.

“When I came to UCI, I was at the Anteater Involvement Fair with my roommates, and I was like, ‘there’s so many clubs, like, I have no idea what to join.’ Then my roommate was like, ‘oh, my gosh, Emily, they have a yearbook,’ and I was like, ‘oh, my God, I’m gonna apply,’ because I knew in my heart that’s something I enjoyed and something that was in my comfort zone,” Takeda said.

For Takeda, her past experience in Yearbook helped her college Yearbook career. Starting as a design intern, she worked on creating spreads and design elements for the pages. Although she noticed slight differences between high school and college yearbooks, such as how each section focused on their own jobs only instead of having to fill in other roles as well, Takeda found the positive and welcoming environment to be greatly motivational. 

“As a bio major, I was taking chem and bio courses, so being a design intern gave me a creative outlet just to step away from schoolwork and to sit down and create these awesome spreads,” Takeda said. “It was really fun and it felt fulfilling, because I was contributing to a publication that captures our campus, and I felt like it’s a really special experience to be able to do that.”

After her experience as a design intern and then the design editor, Takeda decided that she wanted to play a bigger role in the club, so she applied for the position of editor in chief. Now, she is happy to find that she gets to work with more people that she was not able to as a design editor. Along with her other editors, Takeda worked over the summer to prepare for the upcoming year, brainstorming possible theme ideas and coming up with design elements that would fit the decided theme. 

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With great power comes great responsibility and taking on a role as big as editor in chief requires great time management skills, according to Takeda. However, with the help of her planner and designated office hours on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Takeda found the work to be manageable. 

“I think anyone who’s been in Yearbook or any kind of publication organization knows the importance of deadlines and how important those are to hit, so that we can get our content published on time,” Takeda said. “I also give myself specific hours to work on things; during these hours, I really try to get all of my Yearbook work done, and I pretty much do, if I just manage my time wisely and make sure that I’m spreading out my work to be reasonable.”

Unfortunately, the pandemic has complicated the situation, forcing yearbook staff members to work remotely. This meant no in-person meetings and no in-personal social events, either, which was a great disappointment. However, Takeda believes that the team has been generally positive about the situation and has gotten work done despite the difficult circumstances.

“I think something that we may often forget is we’re still in this remote version of Yearbook. The fact that we’re still making that possible is something we should be proud of, because being remote literally makes it 10 times more difficult than it would be if we were in person,” Takeda said. “So I definitely am very proud of our team and how they still have an amazing work ethic, even though we’re virtual.”

Pandemic or not, Takeda and her team work hard to deliver the best yearbook possible. Focusing on obtaining more student coverage and including more clubs, the yearbook staff strove to encapsulate the year within their work. Being a part of Yearbook has allowed many to sharpen their writing, design, photography and marketing skills, and working with a group of unique students called for active communication and cooperation. 

Yearbook staff often faced skeptics, who wondered why a college would need a yearbook. However, the answer given by Takeda would always be the same: a yearbook holds an entire year’s worth of precious memories as well as the blood, sweat and tears of the students who made it. According to Takeda, the UCI Anthology Yearbook holds more value than one would assume. 

“We are the only UC school that has a physical book, and I think that’s something to be very proud of. I think that having a physical book is like great memorabilia for people’s experiences at UCI,” Takeda said. “Even though society is shifting towards everything being digital, it’s still nice to hold a physical book with all of your memories from your time at UCI. I feel like that’s something that’s very special.”

Grace Tu is an Entertainment Intern for the fall 2021 quarter. She can be reached at tug2@uci.edu.