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The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Meet Macalester Street Journal

Meet Macalester Street Journal

For many students, writing a published academic paper is part of their college career. However, this opportunity is often limited to graduate students, leaving the all-undergraduate Macalester campus lacking. Now, Macalester students are in luck.

The Macalester Street Journal (MSJ) is a new student-led organization that gives Macalester students the opportunity to write and publish academic papers. MSJ publishes each semester, and they published their first issue last spring. The organization began when a group of students discussed academic journals that publish primarily undergraduate content. 

“There are so many papers by grad students, so we wanted to give undergrads an opportunity to share their papers,” co-general director Ella Williams ’26 said. “We focus on political science and economics, but we also accept papers that we feel are related to those categories. ”

Meetings occur twice per week. This past week, the editors looked at two student papers and addressed both good things and what needs work. Co-general director Sean Maxfield ’26 coordinated voting to move papers into the editing stage.

“Sunday meetings tend to be more focused on the overall running of the club and major decisions on publication deadlines,” Williams said. “Wednesday meetings are for voting on papers, hearing from editors and as an open forum for writers and working closer with them.”

All reports published in the MSJ begin as essays and projects for other classes that writers are part of. Sometimes, these students decide to expand their papers.

“We of course welcome and embrace people who want to write from scratch,” deputy political science editor Dylan Helirhy ’26 said. “The general demographic is busy poli-sci and econ students. We help edit and convert their final paper into formats suitable for an academic journal.”

Next, the author must seek approval from the editors, who vote on whether they want to advance the paper to the editing stage. From there, they focus on things like content, formatting and citation, voicing any concerns they have to the author.

“I help edit poli-sci and opinion papers and work with authors,” Herlihy said. “I credit this to my fellow board members. We’ve created a cohesive and creative environment. We’re an intellectual-growing club on campus.”

Having students reach out to MSJ is integral to keeping the journal running. A student does not have to be an editor or a member of the club to write a paper.

“We reach out to a lot of groups that we think would be interested in writing for us,” Williams said. “I was talking about this org in my policy debate club, and many of them said that they do so much research for their debates and would like to write about it. It’s a lot of research not seen because it’s used for debating elsewhere, so it’s important to give those people the opportunity to share what they learned.”

For this semester, Herlihy is writing a paper that came from a class.

“I was in a first-year course called ‘Population 8 Billion.’” Herlihy said. “My final paper was about the Rwanda asylum plant, which was an agreement between the UK and Rwanda in which the UK would deport their legal migrants to Rwanda. In exchange, Rwanda would receive money from the UK. My paper was about the ethics and politics, and I argued why it was an unethical policy and that it’d logistically fail.” 

This is one of the many papers that will be included in the next issue, which is expected to be published in December. An increase in interest proves that there is an appeal for an academic journal for Macalester students. 

“We’re still growing,” Herlihy said. “When we started, meetings would be a third of what we have now. We’ve seen a significant uptick in membership and participation, an expansion of the board itself and increasing diversity, which is important.”

MSJ is not stopping with Macalester students. There are plans to do much more.

“I’m reaching out to other colleges, like the University College of London, to create a symposium so we can create work in conversation with other colleges, which should happen within a year,” Williams said. “We’re trying to reach out to a combination of large schools and liberal arts schools because it’s important to get work for all kinds of undergrads. Other schools also run their journals differently, and since we’re new, we look for new ways to run our journal. We’re always adapting with other schools.” 

MSJ is looking forward to the future as they continue to grow. As for papers, students are able to read each one for free. Williams encourages people to spread the word and uplift the authors who have worked hard on their papers.

“Our journals are indexed on Google Scholar and we don’t profit from it,” Williams said. “We think it’s important for others to have access for free. Accessibility is important.”

Each paper is available in both physical and digital formats. The digital versions are available at Physical copies are available on Amazon for $13. 

“Everyone is so invested in the club,” Williams said. “I’m excited that others are just as excited about this journal as I am.” 


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