Yearbook celebrates Frontier Hall life

by Chris Hamilton

For some, the creator of a University yearbook has made the University a smaller place — like high school.
Almost completely on his own, Community Advisor Tosin Arasi, a senior in international relations, created an 80-page, hardcover yearbook for the 35 residents in his section of Frontier Hall.
Despite those who said it could not or should not be done, Arasi raised $3,200 from grants, advertising, fund-raising and his own pocket to produce the yearbook.
“I had the idea when I first came here as a freshman,” Arasi said. “I asked around and was told the University hasn’t had a yearbook for 30 years. When I asked why, the response was so cold. I was told yearbooks were a high school thing. But people said they would love it for the residence halls.”
Arasi is a community advisor for Frontier Hall, which is part of University Housing and Residential Life’s First-Year Experience Program. Territorial and Frontier halls are both occupied exclusively by freshmen. Each of the halls are divided up into 15 houses, and Arasi is in charge of one of the groups, called the Gemini Challengers.
Considering who would buy the book, Arasi chose a soap opera theme for the yearbook.
“It’s called ‘A World-Class Soap Opera’ because it’s a common understanding that the first year of college is really the fifth year of high school,” said Arasi. “We’re a co-ed dorm, so you get to see the interaction, arguing and people getting together. It looks like an episode of ‘90210.’ But we don’t need ‘90210’ because they’re all soap opera stars.”
Arasi began work on his “soap opera” last August. Without success, he wrote letters to 150 different companies asking for financial support — twice. He then began to contact University departments, and several eventually contributed to the project.
“He showed an outstanding initiative that I’d love to see grow throughout the campus,” said Tom de Ranitz from University Relations. “The yearbook is a nice tradition that would be great to revive on campus to develop a stronger sense of community and belonging. It helps define students’ experiences, place and memories.”
Besides his time and energy, Arasi spent $700 of his own money to produce the yearbook. When the yearbooks arrived last Tuesday, he said the gratitude he received made the efforts worthwhile.
“We were absolutely thrilled and excited to get them,” said Christa Fandrich, who took some photos for the yearbook. “We were in shock that we will have something to look back on our freshman year as we go on through our lives.”
Although Arasi did most of the work, 22 of the residents each produced a personal collage-page for the yearbook. They also contributed photos and artwork. Dan Farrar, a freshman criminology major, wrote the captions.
“It was a fun thing to do,” said Farrar. “It was so different, not just for Frontier Hall, but for any group of 40 kids. No other community in the dorms has ever done anything like it.”
Besides the pages with personal photos and artwork, the yearbook offered musings on college life. For example, a list gives the differences between high school and the University.
“High School Vs. College … In H.S., when the teacher said, ‘Good morning,’ you mumbled back. In college, when the professor says, ‘Good morning,’ you write it down.”