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El Paso Community College
Library Research Guides

Borderlands: Change on the Border 15 (1997)

A unique resource of faculty edited college student articles on the history and culture of the El Paso, Juárez, and Southern New Mexico regions.

From the Editors 15

Article first published in Vol. 15, 1997.

By Ruth Vise, Faculty Editor and Advisor

Volume 15 Cover

This year I asked my English 3112 students to research topics on social and cultural change during the second half of the 20th century.

Although students were given an opportunity to delve into changes in popular culture, most opted to research significant movements such as civil rights, gender roles, environmental concerns and changes in family structure. Thus we have articles on Special Olympics, women's sports, home schooling, single fathers and stepfamilies.

Other students concentrated on topics of particular interest to the border such as Cesar Chávez and his influence, ASARCO and El Paso's environment, Hispanics in films and TV and the renovation of downtown El Paso.

One article discusses changes in an aspect of popular culture -- the comic strip and comic books, a topic which would not have been complete without an interview with El Paso's own Tom Moore, who was associated with Archie Comics for about 35 years and who now is my colleague at El Paso Community College. He is one of our local treasures, and so we treat out readers to a bit of Tom Moore's comic art in the form of an autobiographical strip.

Students researched their topics in area libraries in print and electronic sources. All students learned to access the Internet and interview local experts on their topics. Regardless of their topic, they learned about the place they live in and the people they live with. They discovered that their hometown has an exciting history and is home to people who make a difference, both here and in the nation. Students were fascinated to find how important El Paso is to the rest of the country and even other countries. All articles have a border connection, so readers can see how topics of national importance also impact this part of the nation. Students were encouraged to illustrate their papers with drawings or photographs.

Drawing of film camera and downtown El PasoDrawing by Tony Barron

The Borderlands staff and I then turn these academic research papers into feature articles, which I send to other EPCC instructors for further editing. Two stalwarts, James Stowe and Joe Old, take on the task of meticulously editing these articles. Despite a lot of whining and complaining about how abused they are (they get no pay for editing), they show up year after year for editing duty, blue pencils in hand. So to Jim and Joe, I say THANK YOU! I appreciate not only your hard work and editing suggestions, but your incomparable sense of humor. There, satisfied? Now quit badmouthing me on e-mail.

Thanks also to my editor, Sandra Pierce, who had to assume the duties of the assistant editor as well this year. Sandra has done a great job, writing, researching, photographing and keeping me on task. Artist Tony Barron again displays his talent with the cover and other illustrations. Thank you, Tony. We will miss you when you graduate this year.

Thanks go also to my daughter April who always supports our efforts at Borderlands and who every spring patiently waits until I look up from my computer to ask a question or make a comment. A heartfelt thanks goes to Jeanne Foskett, Arts & Communication Division Chair, who has enthusiastically promoted this project for the past several years. We are grateful to the El Paso Times which continues to support our student writing by inserting Borderlands in a Sunday edition. Finally, thanks to our readers who let us know each year how we're doing. Enjoy Borderlands 1997 !

From the Student Editor

Article first published in Vol. 15, 1997.

By Sandra R. Pierce, Editor

Most readers of Borderlands can never comprehend the time and work involved in creating a student writing project like Borderlands unless they have worked on a similar publication.  It literally takes hundreds of people to make a paper such as Borderlands successful.

Ruth Vise, Faculty Editor & Advisor; Tony Barron, Artist; Sandra R. PierceFrom left, Ruth Vise, Faculty Editor & Advisor; Tony Barron, Artist; Sandra R. Pierce, Editor. Photo by Ray M. Pierce

Although it is exciting to see the paper all come together, it would never be possible without the college staff, professors, librarians, individuals contributing information and interviews, editors and, especially, EPCC students.  They spend endless hours researching, interviewing, learning and typing in order to meet requirements for acceptable term papers.  Papers that are the bases for these feature articles must meet even higher criteria.

Changes on the border during the second half of the 20th century was a difficult topic for me when we first began editing this year, and I was convinced that each of the stories was entirely too serious.  But when I realized that in just a few years the changes that are made today will be history, I started to comprehend and enjoy the work that was set before me.

Sure enough, I became enthralled in the stories just as I do every year as they come to life under my fingers on the keyboard.  I have come to the realization that I must really thrive on this excitement as this is my third year of working on the paper.

It has been with pleasure that I have worked on Borderlands, meeting new people whom I’ll always remember and learning at each step of the publication process.  Thanks to Ruth Vise, faculty editor, who has made Borderlands what it is today and who has always believed in me.

Thanks also to my husband Ray who understands me completely and has learned to listen to me just because I need his ear, without judging anything or anyone I speak about.  I would not be able to pursue the many interests in my life if he were not beside me.  I also thank my children Raymond, Amanda and Cherity who have also learned to understand that their mother is a unique though not always calm woman.  I appreciate and love each and every one of them for their patience, love and respect.

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