Student creates new literary magazine

Ren Gennerman

Winona State University student Xandra Okori is starting a national magazine for young adults with the help of StartUp Winona State.
The magazine is titled “Strayer,” and Okori said its focus is on questioning and redefining current societal norms.
“This magazine was made for us to take our power back from all the disillusionment and confusion that we are surrounded by these days around the world,” Okori said. “It’s about encouraging people to, in their own way, find ways to make their communities better.”
Okori, a fourth-year management information systems major, said that the creation of this magazine was her way of creating change in the local community. She plans to publish essays on societal issues, first-person narratives and poetry that explore the theme of “Imagining a Future”.
Okori said she is also planning on interviewing “changemakers” in society, which she believes are entrepreneurs, activists and more.
For Okori, this was a multi-step process. First, she used StartUp Winona to connect with members of the media as well as policy makers for advice on how to create her magazine. She then conducted research on the process to flush out her idea for the magazine. She is currently gathering contributors to her magazine, both at Winona State and beyond. Her next steps are to design the magazine and launch the website.
However, this magazine is only the beginning in Okori’s larger plan. Okori said she eventually wants to build a community around Strayer, which could include a future book club.
Because Okori is graduating in May, she is working to extend Strayer’s reach beyond just Winona State students. She has started sourcing writers and artists from other schools, but eventually wants her magazine to reach around the world.
“I’m Nigerian, so I want to be able to introduce issues from there too, and other parts of the world so we can understand each other a little better and not just be in our own bubbles,” Okori said.
Though Okori says she wants this to be a far-reaching project, she says she is also content with just reaching her community.
“You don’t have to change the world,” Okori said. “Changing even your small community is contributing to good.”
This digital indie magazine was started when Okori collaborated with Will Kitchen at StartUp Winona, a program where Winona State students are connected to resources and opportunities to further their entrepreneurial ideas.
According to the StartUp Winona website, this organization provides professional resources for students to “incubate their ideas”, fosters the formation of student groups to create innovative solutions, brings in the community to connect with students and offers a variety of learning opportunities for participating students.
According to Kitchen, Okori’s magazine is exactly what StartUp Winona was created to help with.
“I really call Xandra’s project just the perfect example of the student that [StartUp Winona] is looking for,” Kitchen said. “She came up with this idea for an online magazine for young people and I thought it was just brilliant.”
After connecting Okori to people who could help make her magazine a reality, Okori started to intern for Kitchen. With Kitchen’s networking connections and Okori’s ideas, Kitchen said that he could not have asked for a better partnership.
“She came to me with an idea and continues to develop it and I continue to connect her to whoever she needs to be connected to,” Kitchen said.
While Okori is planning on posting more frequently on her digital platform, she is currently sourcing writers and artists to contribute to her magazine. Those who are interested in the project may submit a piece to [email protected]
Okori says she plans on publishing her first edition of the magazine in January, and the second edition in May after she graduates. From there, Okori says she hopes to have the magazine publish tri-annually.