This week, the Triple Helix, Cornell’s newest student publication, unveiled its inaugural issue like any ordinary journal. However, unlike an ordinary publication, this journal of science, society and law has not only already established a firm base within the student body at Cornell, but has spread nation-wide to other elite universities.
The Triple Helix was conceived in the fall of 2004 by a pair of sophomores who felt a void on campus of a wholesome science and society journal. Their vision was enacted quickly, and soon there was a full staff and faculty support. After intense fundraising, organizational meetings and research, the first issue was produced.
“We initially realized that we needed to form an e-board,” said Haoming Qiu ’07, managing editor. “We therefore researched our personal contacts and put together a well-rounded staff that was dedicated and capable of producing a high quality journal.”
The staff proved to be extremely capable. The publishing of the first issue has led to more interest nationwide and has left the journal standing as one of the fastest growing student publications at Cornell.
“When we first started, we were content with having a firm base here at Cornell,” said Kevin Hwang ’07, founder and CEO of the journal. “Then, when we saw the turnout from the first general body meeting we thought, ‘this could be big.'”
And big this journal has become. Chapters of the Helix are already established at University of California — Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania.
“I’m taken back by the rapid growth of the Triple Helix,” said production editor Erwin Wang ’07. “This expansion is representative of the importance of the role of science in society.”
The content of the journal is an eclectic blend of topics that combine cutting-edge scientific information with the ethical and legal implications they have on society. Topics in the premiere issue range from challenging the ethics of surrogacy to evaluating the FDA’s current prescription drug policies. The journal also has a policy forum section, in which students debate hot topics that can have political implications. This issue’s argument: the pros and cons of universal health care.
In addition to the popular nature and content of the magazine, the management and execution of the journal’s procedure has been efficient.
“The students are doing this right,” said Prof. Michael Lynch ’70, science and technology studies, faculty advisor to the Triple Helix. “They take care of the content and bring in faculty to handle the bureaucracy.”
While the journal has seemed to conquer many of the initial demons that haunt developing publications, it has many hurdles to overcome, especially with the advent of spreading nationally. One of the major issues is funding, which has so far been an advantage the journal has had on other publications.
“We are going to incorporate into non-profit so that we can receive tax-deductible donations,” Hwang said. “This will help us gather more private-based funds and will hopefully allow us to get recognition from some national companies.”
With more funding and a determined mindset, the Triple Helix hopes to expand to the rest of the Ivy League and MIT.
“We can never be complacent,” Hwang emphasized. “We need to continue the rigor and keep striving toward the future.”
Archived article by Carl Menzel
Sun Staff Writer