Student voice 5 May 2021

From inkling to [ink.]: a story of student self-starters

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Everyone likes to express their opinions from time to time, but grade 8s Sophia D and Howard S took it a step further: they set up their own non-profit student-led platform so they and their peers could have a safe place to express their opinions. Why did they choose to take such an initiative? We chat with them to find out more.

Tell us a little about yourselves.
Howard: We are both in grade 8 and we are the co-founders of a non-profit student-led platform called [ink.].

What's the story behind [ink.]?
Howard: It first started out as an idea. We wanted a place where we could safely express our ideas and viewpoints, and allow others to do the same without fear of being judged. We realised there wasn’t really a forum for young people by young people to critique the world from our shoes so we decided to create [ink.]. Through this platform, we were able to reach out to content creators our age around the world.

Tell us about the roles you play in the magazine.
Sophia: Howard is the editor-in-chief and manages content development, content in general, new ideas for writers, and developing varied articles for readers to enjoy. I, on the other hand, am the head of expansion, management and creative development. I manage our vision, future plans as well as the management systems in place within our organisation.

What are some challenges you face and how did you overcome them?
Howard: We do face communication problems among our team members but we have managed to solve them collaboratively. It was mainly due to a lack of constituency and consistency, so people sometimes go ahead with a task without informing others while there are some people who don’t know what is going on. We expected this as we have only been at this for a short period of time, but we hope that things will improve with the systems that we have put in place.

What's your vision for the magazine?
Howard: We want the platform to be a place where people can learn, and understand new concepts and perspectives. This can be quite the challenge but we believe that it’s possible. We feel that the conflict and confusion in the world are mainly due to a lack of understanding. If we could address this issue through our platform one article at a time, we would be happy enough.

What do you look for in a submitted article?
Howard: Our writers have the freedom to decide on the topic to write about, so there isn’t really a criteria that we use to assess articles. Generally we look for a broad scope of ideas and styles of writing. We feel that this is a good way to interest and educate our readers on topics they aren’t familiar with.

We understand that everyone’s journey is different so the topics they want to write about and their writing style will vary. We always keep this in mind as we evaluate what our guest writers and staff create. There are exceptions in what can be published though and we are quite strict about that.

What are your future plans for this magazine?
Sophia: We recently purchased a domain for [ink.] so that’s a great first step. We also want to expand further into a wider range of platforms and media bases so that more people with different perspectives and ideas around the world can create something that students like us can relate to. We also plan on recruiting more staff internationally for various projects and to grow our readership as well as our organisation in the process.

Great job, Howard and Sophia! We can’t wait to see how your platform for young people by young people grows.