History of The Pub

Grace on April 30, 2021

Guided by Kristen Scharold, The Pub was founded in 2006 and became the first independent academic journal on the campus of Wheaton College IL. It’s original conception was intentionally vague, according to Scharold, but aimed to challenge the social and cultural status quo through the exchange of ideas. The Pub was meant to complement Wheaton’s other publications; Scharold recalls, “The Record and Kodon are pillars of Wheaton College—and Wheaton needs them!—but The Pub serves to fill the space between, shifting and vague as it may be.”

Its name was inspired by the lively environment of pubs— places where free, unbound discussion thrives— and a play on the word “publication.” The following year, the newly named journal had a booming staff, a handful of published material to their name, and the beginnings of a mission statement. By the fall of 2008, The Pub was moving away from their vague beginnings and toward faithfully drafted statements that each staff member could affirm, according to integral Pub member Ian Yue (2008-2011). This was how the mission and vision statement, still held by The Pub, came into being. Four years after its founding, in 2010, Yue united The Pub with The Augustine Collective, a network of Christian undergraduate independent journals, developed by Yue himself. By 2011, all the founding members of The Pub had graduated, but left behind a rapidly growing and thriving journal that was serving the unheard and unfiltered voices of Wheaton College.

The next several years served as a test to The Pub’s core values. Would The Pub remain independent? Would they truthfully and respectfully publish unbounded writing, poetry and art?

The Pub continued the tradition of its founders by faithfully encouraging students to think deeply and critically about cultural issues outside of the classroom. Publishing one issue per semester, The Pub required collaboration and a somewhat “rebellious spirit,” according to 2014-2015 editor in chief Ellen Misloski. The Pub gave “artsy type” students a place to lead and push against theological and cultural ideology with, Misloski remembers, a cross-disciplinary staff that reflected these convictions. The Pub taught its staff members a trade that valued abstract disciplines while cultivating a community of friends and artists. Known for their lively release parties— characterized by poetry reading, collaging, live music and food— and tasteful and compelling journals, the first decade of The Pub’s existence was fruitful.

Like any organization, however, The Pub suffered growing pains after 10 years of operation. But it was this very struggle that helped maintain the integrity of Scharold's original vision. Indeed, with no one holding their hand, Pubbers had to motivate and organize themselves; “it kept things rugged, but that's what’s so cool” commended Misloski.

Accordingly, keeping The Pub alive became a process headed by essential leaders like editor in chiefs Sadie McCloud (2018) and Ellie Shackelford (2019). McCloud reminded readers in 2018 that, “The Pub seeks to be more than just a print journal. It seeks to be a culture that is both nurtured by conversation and that seeks to create a further place for conversation in the Wheaton community” (Vol. XIII, Issue 2). This revival came hand-in-hand with a return to work “focused... explicitly on Christian faith,” (McCloud, Vol. XIV, Issue 1). Shackelford and Hannah

Pugh (Managing Editor 2019-2020) kept publications up and running, curating work that acknowledged the Christian faith through veins of brokenness. Shackelford hoped that The Pub would encourage readers to “see the pricks of light which break into [the darkness]: the impossible turned possible, the ordinary made divine, the human understanding, the endurance of the body” (Vol. XV, Issue 2). McCloud, Shackelford and Pugh have since graduated, leaving behind them a journal that faithfully publishes the voices of Wheaton that desire to lament, rejoice, and create with curiosity and freedom.