BEMIDJI (AP) -- A group of Bemidji State University students has discovered a unique way to hold onto its travel memories. They've gathered them into a book.
"The Journey That Matters," is a paperback collection of 36 writings focusing on the students' memories and observations.
The book is primarily made up of essays written by students who took part in Bemidji's 2002 Eurospring trip.
However, there are essays written by students who participated in trips to the Boundary Waters, Hawaii and Washington, D.C.
Louise Mengelkoch, an associate professor of journalism at BSU, took part in the trip along with her husband and son, and decided to pursue the book option to give students another avenue to write.
"I'm always looking for venues to show students that writing is important," Mengelkoch said.
The book includes a number of photos from the trip. The essays focus on European fashion, homesickness, U.S. involvement overseas, the homeless in Oxford, the culture of drinking in Europe and the Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
Alissa Pesta, who took part in the Eurospring trip, handled much of the book's design.
"I was lucky enough to find a student who is a great designer and has a strong work ethic," Mengelkoch said.
Pesta, the only student on the trip studying graphic design, was a natural for the project.
"While we were on the trip everyone was supposed to do research on a city," Pesta said. "I didn't do research on a city because they were all taken. So I said I would help on the book to help my grade."
The project took three months.
"This was my first project like this," Pesta said.
Pesta said she is pleased with the finished project but realizes there are things she would have done differently.
The Eurospring program is BSU's longest running foreign educational endeavor.
Students spend a large amount of time in Oxford, England, where studies focus on a particular period of English and European culture.
The students then follow up that aspect of the trip with a three-week trek across Europe where they experience the history, architecture, political structures and societal differences of seven countries.
The students were required to write an essay as part of their Eurospring requirements, and Mengelkoch noted the majority of students were accepting of the plan to put their writing into a book.
Mengelkoch said she's only talked to a few students since the book came out, but those students were surprised at how professional the book looks.
It seems most of the students were expecting a packet of photocopies, Mengelkoch said.
Mengelkoch explained that one of the book's purposes was to honor the students who participated.
For her part, Mengelkoch is hoping the travel book becomes a tradition.
"I think it's important, especially for young people, to write with a purpose," she said.
Arrow Printing handled the initial press run of 500 copies.
Mengelkoch also is hoping the production of "The Journey That Matters" sparks a revival in local printing.
"I think there's a need here for a local press," she said. "I don't know that there is anything stopping us, all we need to do is print books."
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