Spotlight: Stephens College

by Shelly Romero

Lela Raney Wood Hall, Stephens College.

Lela Raney Wood Hall, Stephens College.

Located in the heart of Columbia, Missouri, just a five-minute walk to Downtown, Stephens College sits in her glory. Stephens has the distinction of being recognized as the second oldest women's college in the country. The campus also happens to be the very location for this year's inaugural Unbound Book Festival.

Compared to the neighboring University of Missouri-Columbia's nearly 33,000 student population, Stephens' is dwarfed with an estimate of 700 undergraduate students living in the residential halls on campus with the number raised to 1200 all-together when factoring in non-traditional, off-campus, and graduate students. 

Stephens College is a private college that takes academics seriously. Our classes hold a student:teacher ratio of 12:1 allowing students to cultivate meaningful, well-rounded relationships with their professors; it's the type of environment where a professor's open door could lead to fun conversations about red buffalo plaid or focused conservations regarding students' academic futures. 

But it's not all work and no play. Stephens' small campus environment allows students to have many opportunities to join organizations on and off campus that promote leadership, teamwork, community service, and growth in oneself. Some of the organizations you'll find are the new internet radio station: KWWCStephens Life, the campus magazine, the Student Government Association, Stephens Organized for Service (S.O.S.). Along with two PanHellenic sororities: Kappa Delta and Sigma Sigma Sigma, the Diversity Coalition as well as many honor societies help promote the pursuit of knowledge and philanthropic events that raise money for organizations outside of the Stephens' community.

While True/False is known as Columbia's documentary film festival, every Fall Stephens' digital filmmaking department hosts the Citizen Jane Film Festival. Since its inception in 2008, the festival seeks to promote, as its motto states, "independent films by independent women." From a Thursday to Sunday, the festival is filled with movies, dance parties, and fantastic panels that contribute to the discussion of women in film. While Citizen Jane Film Festival only happens once a year, Columbia community members can enjoy free films and their visiting filmmakers brought to the campus through the Citizen Jane Film Series

One of the most creative showcases of students' talent to come from the English/Creative Writing program is Harbinger, an award-winning literary journal. Harbinger has won 1st place in Sigma Tau Delta's Outstanding Literary Arts Journal for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013; the magazine has most recently won 2nd place for the 2015 edition. Ask anyone in Sigma Tau Delta why literary journals can't compete the next year if they won 1st place the previous year and they'll answer with, "it's the Harbinger Rule." The journal features prose, poetry, interviews, and art features by the students of the college and those from the Moberly Area Community College. Harbinger is completely student-run, advised by a professor. 

The contributors of the 2015 Harbinger issue will perform selected pieces and copies will be sold during the day of Unbound's festival.

Shelly Romero is an English major at Stephens College. She hopes to work in publishing as an editor and writer. If you ask her about her favorite musical, she'll jump on a table and start rapping lyrics from Hamilton

Posted on March 16, 2016 .