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Odyssey helps shape ONU's writing community

The Odyssey team at Ohio Northern University stands for a group photo before fall break. (Northern Review photo/Dominic Turnea)

The Odyssey team at Ohio Northern University stands for a group photo before fall break. (Northern Review photo/Dominic Turnea)

Ohio Northern University provides many opportunities for students to express themselves. Whether writing essays, blog posts, or even writing for the Northern Review, students can share their voices. For the student-led writing group, Odyssey, it is more than an organization: it is a community for young writers. Odyssey is a community where students write about any topic they desire.   Each week, students can utilize a variety of platforms to express themselves. Content varies in videos, written articles, letters, top-ten lists, and rants. The possibilities are endless.

Sophomore public relations major Julia Vachon serves as the editor-in-chief of ONU's chapter of Odyssey. While writing weekly content herself, she also works with her team to ensure the staff members' messages can be spread across the community, and even to parts of the world. For Vachon, the opportunity to share her writing through Odyssey was simply a great chance to take.

“I have always had a passion for writing, and the idea of being able to share my writing online with the chance of it spreading and potentially having an effect on someone’s life was too great to pass up." 

Since Odyssey is online, students are able to easily browse content on the website, view profiles of the writers, and see different perspectives from various writers. Many of the writers possess different backgrounds, morals and lifestyles. Vachon also talks about the ability to share writing ideas and thoughts:

Odyssey allows writers to share whatever they want to, meaning they can share whatever they find to be important. The ability to craft and share different perspectives for readers to connect with on any level is an amazing experience.” 

Junior literature and creative writing major Kelley Lewis began writing for Odyssey in early 2015. She states the opportunity to join the writing staff all began with a simple Twitter post:

“I don’t usually go on Twitter, but I just happened to be on. As a writer, I really wanted more experience, and Odyssey was a way to get that experience.” 

Articles can be shared and found all over social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Pinterest. Many of the articles created by students can receive hundreds and even thousands of views. The writing content is entirely original, or often shaped with the help of the Odyssey team. 

Every month, the writing staff meets to discuss writing topics and what current events to write about that would be appealing to a widespread audience. While brainstorming and sharing article topics, the ideas seem to naturally flow for the students, constantly contributing to the discussed topics. 

“We create content as individuals but support each other as a team, and it is a great feeling to experience,” Vachon said.

Despite Odyssey being relatively new within the ONU community and campus, students have reached out and joined, interacting with new students and building networks amongst their peers.  From many backgrounds to different majors, Odyssey writers are truly unique individuals. Being a writer for Odyssey is not only building a writing community, but it nonetheless creates a strong team.

“You don’t have to be a writer (or videographer, or poet, etc.) to be a creator for Odyssey. If you have ideas and passions that you want to share with the world, this is the perfect platform to do it,” Vachon said.