Saint Rose student post meets success with 2020 kiss


In the spring, Professor Daniel Nester, founder of the Pine Hills Review, asked students in his online literary review, in his editing and publishing class at the College of Saint Rose, what topic they would like to work on for the semester. The class bounced off some ideas until one student said “F * 2020”.

The class unanimously agreed, deciding to use it for the Spring 2021 edition of the college’s literary magazine. Alexis Stephenson, an elder in Saint Rose and the student who suggested the theme said it was only appropriate.

“I thought of 2020 because it was pretty much a terrible year to some extent for most of the world,” Stephenson said. “Whether it’s COVID, environmental causes or the economy. Everyone had a reason to say, ‘F — 2020’ to some extent, so that seemed very fitting. “

She added that it also means anyone can contribute. Stephenson also felt it would broaden the range of submissions they would get.

As the class discovered literary journals online and began producing and publishing theirs, the students called for applications. They sent emails to mailing lists, posted to Facebook groups and literary groups. The response was overwhelming.

“They were coming from all over the map,” Nester said. “Some (the respondents) had five, six books and are college professors and teach writing. The others were high school students. So that was a really wide range. Which is a testament to the student editors, because they really like what (the submissions) they liked.

Nester combined over a hundred entries they’d received into one large PDF file and sent them to the class, who then – despite working remotely – combed it through painstakingly, selecting finally 15 submissions which made it number.

According to Samantha Zimmerman, an English student at Saint Rose and editor-in-chief of the project, this was the best part, but also the most difficult.

“While I was working on the F * 2020 feature film, I found myself in touch with so many different writers, coming together to share the stories of their 2020 experiences,” she said. “From COVID-19, vaccinations, mental health crises, loss and bereavement, every writer has added something to functionality. It was really tough deciding which pieces to include and which not to include, but in the end we chose pieces that had different voices and perspectives of the seemingly endless year.

The whole process took about a month and a half, Nester said. Students reached out to local artists and within the student community for artwork to address the issue. Some writers sent in works of art with their pieces, and some pieces were made by student editors themselves.

But what everyone agrees is that they couldn’t have done it without each other. Zimmerman never thought she would work that way, never meeting her professor or co-editors in person. But with a lot of communication, coordination, and hard work, she’s thrilled with the results.

As for the name, Nester said that although he was initially resistant to it, his unanimous acceptance by the rest of the class made him accept.

“If only the founding nuns of this college could see me now,” he said.

You can read “F * 2020” at

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