Kalamazoo, MI
one-hundred-forty Years of Service to the Student

Anniversary Edition

Denna Stinson: On Floppy Discs and Free Pizzas

Denna Stinson ‘97 with husband Steve, daughter Katherine (11) and son Aaron (9), on vacation this past summer. [Courtesy of Denna Stinson]

As soon as Denna Stinson ‘97 stepped onto the Kalamazoo College campus, she knew that she would be a student there someday. She felt in that moment that was the college for her. “One foot on the campus and that was it. It was like when I met my husband, and I just knew,” Stinson reflected. She graduated in 1997 with a major in political science and a minor in international studies, after an amazing four years’ worth of experiences.

Stinson was involved in The Index throughout her four years at K, slowly moving through the organization from writer to editor-in-chief. Stinson remembers her time with the newspaper as being busy and high-energy. “We were just goofballs. Remembering back, it was crazy,” Stinson said.

Writers would submit their articles on floppy discs, and the editor-in-chief would pull an all-nighter before it was published each week. Each layout had to be physically cut and pasted together on a light board. The editors were at the mercy of the writers – writers had to physically hand in the discs with their stories for the week. Without cell phones or Facebook, it was next to impossible to track staff members down if a deadline was missed.

One of her most vivid memories of The Index is of the old radio they had in the newsroom. “They would always play this radio station, and there was just this girl who would always win free pizzas,” Stinson said. She also remembers spending hours on Scrabble tournaments. In retrospect, she reflects, that time spent chatting with friends may have been responsible for the long hours and scramble for deadlines that she experienced as editor-in-chief.

Aside from the experience and relationships, Stinson learned a lot about writing by being a part of The Index. “It really taught me how to handle a specific style of writing. Our advisor taught me a trick about transitioning between paragraphs that I still use to this day,” said Stinson.

Stinson pursued her master’s degree at Lawrence Technological University, and while she never completed it, she was well prepared for the time she did spend there. “I was getting all A’s, it was a piece of cake compared to K. K more than prepared me for furthered education,” said Stinson.

While she was a student at Kalamazoo College, Stinson studied abroad and France. She says that it gave her a lot of perspective. “It taught me how hard it is to be an outsider, and now that I live in such a diverse community it made me very compassionate for those who come here from a different country,” said Stinson.

Her one piece of advice for all students here at K is that “Life does not end after college. It just takes a few adjustments, be patient with yourself.” And to those in The Index, “Meet your deadlines!”

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Denna Stinson: On Floppy Discs and Free Pizzas