A chapter of a national association for LDS publishers is coming to stay at BYU. The BYU student chapter is led by a 21-year-old English language major and a professor from the School of Communications, and its first meeting will take place Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015.
Student Leah Welker is the founder and president of the BYU chapter. She has been part of the national LDS Publishing Professionals Association since its inaugural event in April 2015, and she said she knew right away that she wanted to eventually begin an LDSPPA chapter at BYU.
She said students occupy an interesting place in the publishing industry because they have a foot in two different doors. They’re still getting their education, but they are also trying to gain professional experience.
“We saw great opportunities with the BYU chapter to provide opportunities for experience, training and leadership for students interested in going into the publishing industry,” Welker said.
Welker said she was responsible for filling out most of the paperwork and writing a charter. She and her faculty advisor, Steve Thomsen, wanted the BYU chapter to be an all-inclusive unit for students with a wide variety of interests, majors and career plans.
“We defined it really broadly so that anyone interested in the dissemination of material – be it electronic or paper – can join and gain something from LDSPPA,” Welker said. “That includes a lot of students across campus: writers, designers, web publishers, would-be librarians and bookstore owners.”
LDSPPA membership is not restricted to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but people who want to join do have to be friendly toward the church. Welker said that is because LDSPPA’s focus is on professional development, not discussing or publishing religious topics.
She said she believes LDSPPA will play an important role by encouraging members to publish positive material. She said she’s already seen the impact that some of the members of the national association have had on the publishing industry.
“I believe that LDS publishers are uniquely qualified to impact the world through the dissemination of good ideas,” Welker said. “We have a potential and a promise and an obligation to do so.”
The chapter’s first meeting is taking place in Room 2111 of the Jesse Knight Building on Nov. 10 at 5 p.m. The meeting is open to all who are interested. Students can also learn more about the LDSPPA national organization at the LDSPPA website.