Student sex magazine Vita re-enters with high hopes

Although the magazine started in 2004 and ran for four successful years, it has struggled to find participants and has been out of print since 2007.

By Christina Pillsbury

While spring is a time for people to show more skin, fourth-year Jackie Todd has students baring it all this season.

Todd, editor-in-chief of Vita Excolatur, is hard at work finishing a full issue of the student-run pornographic magazine, which was last published three years ago. Although the magazine started in 2004 and ran for four successful years, it has struggled to find participants—from photographers to models to designers—and has been out of print since 2007.

“Getting people to stay focused on something that’s a novelty, getting people to take over an organization that didn’t have a hierarchy was difficult,” said Todd, who hoped to revive Vita since her second year. “It was just tossed in my lap and they said ‘just do what you want.’”

Pieces fell into place this year, and Vita will be on sale during finals week. “Not many people knew about it and a lot of people said that they’d [participate]. Taking a break and coming back to something fresh did it a lot of good,” Todd said.

With its nude photo shoots of ultimate frisbee players and students posing in the Reg bookstacks paired with articles exploring sexuality, Vita has gained a lot of attention in the past, most notably as the focus of an April 2006 New York Times article.

Todd said the media was attracted to reporting on the news that “the school where fun comes to die has a sex magazine.” The Chicago Tribune also picked up on the story this year. “I thought it was interesting that they wanted to highlight that we’re not just a bunch of nerds that lock ourselves away in the library,” Todd said.

Tom Tian, fourth-year and former managing editor of the Maroon, has lent a hand to Todd in regards to design and layout, but said that the project was ultimately Todd’s.

According to Todd, readers can expect a wide variety of provocative photographs of fellow students, as well as erotic literature written by peers. “[We] kept hot chicks reading books, which is the only main tradition that Vita has, [and added] one genre of queer culture, one that’s super artsy, one shoot that’s just examining the human body,” said Todd.

According to Tian, the magazine will be approximately 24 pages, which is similar to previous issues, and sold during finals week for $2. Due to adult content, buyers will need to show identification.

“A lot of people might buy it as a joke,” Todd said. “But then they might actually read it and see that there’s a lot of good art in there and a lot of good topics of conversation.”