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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 34| August 22, 2010|


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Note From The Editor

It gives me immense pleasure to see that Star Campus (SC), a weekly publication of The Daily Star has completed its fourth year keeping true to its promise of linking young minds together. Over the years SC has become the only platform for young students and teachers to express their minds, to showcase their talents and to become an integral part of this unique publication. The SC team has taken great care to give space to the first time writers, especially those from outside Dhaka as they hardly have any magazine to see their institutional news, musing, travelogues and memoirs given due prominence. This opportunity has no doubt helped the students develop their creative skills, be more imaginative and pursue their innovative instincts. I am happy to note that more and more students and teachers are now showing interest to contribute to SC and take part in various programmes organised by this weekly.

I would like to congratulate the Star Campus team for giving relentless efforts towards taking this magazine to a new height in English journalism in Bangladesh. I hope that the quest for perfection will continue and the team through widening the scope of contents will attain new dimensions.

Mahfuz Anam
Editor & Publisher

Charlie, his angels and Bosley!

Yamin Tauseef Jahangir

A Sunday afternoon, and I started walking towards the Star Campus office. It is the start of a brand new day, a new week, a new dawn, with the birds chirping, the rustling of the trees, the smiles of few toddlers on the way and I thought the day can't get any better than this. Wait a minute! What am I thinking? It's Star Campus where I am heading for! The place where I will meet the over enthusiastic Charlie (Shahnoor Bhai) and I know in the coming hours my head will go bonkers managing his pesky angels (so he calls them).

Meet Sarah Z H (Lucy Lu), the all time hyper girl. This person is indeed very active and she is the person who has a solution to everything, whether that's feasible or not that is completely a different story, but hey, she still has a solution. Bushra (Drew Barrymore) is the munch kid in the Campus family. She takes her job very seriously, and eats seriously as well, and does come up with amazing ideas, although at times she is loud enough for the whole floor, but I guess only munchies makes her calm down and be happy in such situations. Sameeha (Cameron Diaz) is the person whom I have to call twice just to get her attention. Either she is zoned out in her own world, or she is so engrossed in editing that she becomes oblivious to the outside world! Ranak Martin is the person with whom I go on talking about gadgetries and what not, but this bloke has got a creative mind in his young shoulders that get well portrayed in every photograph that he takes for us. But when it comes down to meeting deadlines, these are the characters I know I can rely on without a doubt.

My journey to Star Campus started off back in the times when it first got published. Although I was not a part of it and worked for other section in The Daily Star, I still managed to contribute whenever I could. The people who has worked or are still in the Campus family do have their own stories to share and I am sure they are very interesting ones as you know the aura is totally different. Whenever I sit on my desk and start my day, I know the rest of the hours will be as random as it can get, but the team knows how to meet both ends of the string. We always go through brainstorming sessions with Shahnoor Bhai, and we scream, we argue, we laugh and finally come to a decision on the materials that need to be published for the next issue. Shahnoor Bhai and us, we do share a different bond and be as sarcastic as we want to be, but still he will treat us to our hearts' content! Thursday is the busiest day in the week, when we work almost around the clock to make changes till the last moment just to give our readers an interesting and fun-filled magazine. We don't say that we are perfect but it give us immense pleasure to see the feedback of our readers, the fan mails or even the hate mails, we do take things in good spirits.

Today in this anniversary issue, I would like to thank the entire team for the hard work that they put on in every week, just to make the weekly a better read. Sarah, Bushra and Sameeha, you are really cool friends to work with and although you people go on yapping around my ears, I have grown a lot of patience and my tolerance level has increased! Ranak is an amazing person I have come across and I thank him for the wonderful photographs that make the magazine unique. I would also thank Tabassum, the person who has been with us right from the start and I do appreciate her dedication to Star Campus and I admire her for that. I would also thank the previous members of the Star Campus family; you were the people who have done a lot for this magazine and I am sure seeing it grow up is truly a whole lot different feeling. Lastly, I want to thank our dearest Shahnoor Bhai, who has been an amazing leader, a person with great wisdom and we learnt so much from him. He has been the element that made Star Campus a wonderful place to be in, and he is the person who loves his pets more than us! This is me, Bosley, whom you may consider, from the Star Campus desk waiting for Charlie and his angels to come.

Turning 4!

Sameeha Suraiya

When you take up a magazine that speaks about the lives of students, their contributions and their ambitions, I think you unconsciously let yourself loose into this one of a kind world where ideas and opinions swirl and collide, dreams unfurl and grievances find a voice. To see what's popping in the minds of the tweens and teens that is what Star Campus does best. And being a part of this venture is of course, a whole different experience. From a Sunday morning beginning with a bulk of emails waiting to be opened, to maddening Thursdays, deadlines are dreaded and met, but not without those trips to the canteen, the much awaited tea breaks, and a bit of facebooking (yes, it is essential that you socialise in workplaces too!). Working with Star Campus is quite a ride, crazy but immensely satisfying. There is never a dull day here, with each of the team members as idiosyncratic as the other arguing, thinking and writing all in a day's work. And of course, there is Shahnoor bhai, who we like to think of as the lifeline of the team, always there with a twinkle in his eyes, never without a word of inspiration.

It so happened that just a month after I graduated, I landed in this vibrant workplace with the most warm and energetic team of colleagues. It was the best deal anyone could ask for!

Thanks to its growing readership, Star Campus celebrates its successful march up to its 4th year anniversary. It is time, once again, to blow out the candles!

Growing up with Star Campus

Every time I saw my write up in an issue of Star Campus, it made my day. My first write-up in Star Campus was a mere translation, where I translated my house tutor's writing in English. It was a small piece of around 250 words published in one of the early issues of Star Campus. But the whole feeling was truly amazing. I then felt the urge to write even more. I guess I showed it to every single person I knew. When I recollect that moment it still makes me smile.

Star Campus has given me the platform that I never thought I would get. It gave me the strength to write, to face criticism. It grew my love for English, nurturing it all the way through. I can say I grew up with Star Campus. It made me grow as a writer, as a person, as a human being, and as me, what I am today. After each write-up was published, the feedbacks I used to get were incredible.

Star Campus gave me the happiness that very few are destined to get. It gave me the opportunity to give a proper tribute to a person who is no more in this world. It gave my mother, according to her, the best mother's day gift any child could give their mother. It gave me the chance to let readers know about environmental pollution. And last but not the least; it gave me the honour to interview the renowned physicist of Bangladesh, Professor Emeritus Dr. Jamal Nazrul Islam. Some works were criticised as well as appreciated, while some works made people laugh and cry.

Though I always feel that Star Campus is a well-renowned youth magazine, I feel the necessity of a column where youths can seek advice from experts about academic issues.

Star Campus gave me memories that I will always cherish When I saw invitation for write ups, I couldn't stop myself writing for the magazine, which made the last four years of my life the most beautiful. I can proudly say that I could be a part of Star Campus for the last four years, and hope that I remain a part of it forever.

Long live Star Campus!
Wishing a very Happy Birthday to you!

(The writer is a H.S.C. 2nd year student of Radiant School and College, Chittagong)

Movers and Shakers of Star Campus

Tanzina Rahman

Disclaimer: Those who are reading this article please bear in mind this is not a comment piece, neither is it a section of recommendation on how to improve Star Campus (SC). You can only relate to this article and can really make sense out of it if you have been a part of Star Campus for the past one year, an employee, an intern, a contributor or even a devoted reader.

“Sarah Z H misses captain Mahboob and Tanzi the ....” (No Sarah I'm not writing what you have called me!). The picture along with this statement had crumbs of sarcasm, at the same time sentiments which only my two colleagues and I can comprehend. Of course following the statement we had several ludicrous comments, nevertheless we missed each other, and we missed the environment where our relationship grew.

Flashback to 2009 Phase I- Mahdin and I wanted to do something unique for the anniversary issue and thus thought of calling up our dear colleagues (who happened to vanish for the week) for a meeting. Everyone on the team were having classes and finding a suitable time for the meeting did not seem feasible at all. Regardless we managed to crunch up our busy schedule, ordered some food from the canteen upstairs (as always the money came from our dear Big Boss aka- Shahnoor bhai) and began to brainstorm some ideas. “Winds of Change” was the theme chosen. Sarah, our creative chief came up with it. Next plan was to organise a social event for the unfortunate or ailing children. We were enthusiastic about designing t-shirts for the SC as well. Tawsif and Ridwan (the men of action) decided to make the necessary arrangements while I produced the designs.

Ideas poured in and so did the budget. And after taking into account all the dos and don'ts we decided to do only two events marking the third anniversary of our beloved magazine. The end result- a successful anniversary issue, or so we would like to think of!

Phase II- There hasn't been a day since we have not ordered food from the upstairs' canteen once it is passed 6pm. Our usual undertaking at work included taking more breaks than to actually work, gossiping about anything and everything that surrounds us, chitchatting on facebook and once in a while (if we get time from all these work) we would focus on the editing or more so writing for a change.

It so happened right when we started to do editing, we realised it was Sunday and we have not decided on what our cover story should be! There were some hair pulling, nail biting, but being the amazing team we were, it took us no time to brainstorm some ideas, make some phone calls and before we knew- each and every team member were contributing to write the cover story which will become the greatest success of working as a team. 'Earn While You Learn' was the final title given by the team. Each of us interviewed youngsters who are particularly involved in interesting part-time jobs. Our ingenious designer Sagar bhai rendered his skills making the cover outstanding.

As the year went on, we realised 'Earn While You Learn' was the only single issue which stood out as the best example for excellent teamwork.

Phase III- Marking different significant international days that relates to youth, over the past year we have worked diligently on number of issues such as International Women's Day, International Mother's Day, World Environment Day and many more. Our Independence Day and Pahela Baishakh issues were quite a hit as well.

From time to time SC would organise Literary and Music Addas as well as motivational and career seminars for the youth. Last year can be also counted as an achievement since both the Addas returned back fully-fledged. But of course an issue is never a success without the people of energetic demeanour who initiate change and influence events.

A regular reward for these hard works will come to us into small packages. No not in forms of bribery, but as food. Our beloved boss Shahnoor bhai will allow us to indulge into delectable chocolates or will take us for mouth-watering dinners or lunches every now and then. I will say this lured us more to get attached with SC.

Phase IV- Working in SC is something out of the ordinary. It is a place where you learn to grow your talents, where you are free to cultivate creativity, where you have the freedom to nurture social journalism, where you enjoy being a youth, and especially where you gain friendship. Without a doubt an environment as such is rare to find in the industry.

This article is basically a reflection of my experience of being a part of this wonderful 'dwelling'. The reason I call it a dwelling is because the unbridled events that happens here is incredible, and also the fact that I don't think I can find any better word to describe SC other than this. When I wrote the first draft I wanted to name the title as- 'Best of Star Campus'. As cliché as it may sound, I realised it is not much of the issues of the magazine which can be selected as the best (unless we do a public rating. God knows what the results will be Shahnoor Bhai) but it is more of the people who make a difference to create this magazine. Hope the title has best suited. I leave that up to the reader.

To write this article I also had to do a little bit of old-fashioned reporting myself i.e. opening up my inbox and sending a short email to my dear former colleagues as to know what mischief they were up to. It so happens that our captain cum tech-freak Mahdin Mahboob is in UK finishing his masters, Mr. Witty or should I say 'live comedian' Tawsif Saleheen and our beloved all time 'debater' Ridwan Karim have once again made us proud and climbing the stairs of success as they are working as business consultant in an Donor Consortium, Star Campus's sugar girl also known 'all time hyper' (hence the name sugar girl) Sarah Z H is still with SC and will be graduating from NSU soon, Bushra the undercover agent of SC is still young and enjoying her way in the 'dwelling', Shagar Bhai who is engrossed to define his creative talents on the cover of SC and last but not least our dearest and invisible colleague Tabassum is soon to become the next human rights lawyer!

Star Campus turns Four!

Mahdin Mahboob

The fact that my beloved Star Campus is turning four brings about mixed emotions for me. On one side I am happy to learn that the toddler I saw back in 2006 is now four years young and has continued to remain the number one youth based magazine being the first source of university news for the country as well as Bangladeshis studying abroad. On the other hand, this will also be the first anniversary of Star Campus during which I will not be a member of the Campus team.

I remember, back in 2007, when my job in Campus was just a few months old, we organised the first anniversary celebrations, completed with a grand party and a bigger issue full of reader feedback including both students and faculty members of different universities. In 2008 and 2009, by when I was well set in my job as a full timer and as the deputy of our editor, whom we lovingly called Shahnoor Bhai, I had more responsibilities for the special issues that came out. Hundreds of responses from readers all across the country and abroad, from BUET, Khulna University and BRAC University (and many others) in the country to Bangladeshi students in MIT, Boston University to NUS (and a whole lot others) wrote their feedback about the magazine. As editors, it became extremely difficult to choose which articles to publish and which article to discard. It was around this time of the year that it indeed felt good to be part of the Campus team, with appreciations pouring in from all corners of the world. In other months, getting hate mails was as common as appreciations!

I used to love my job at Campus, in spite of coming from an engineering background, and will cherish the days spent in Campus and Daily Star for the rest of my life. I made great friends in the form of Sarah, Tanzina, Bushra, Ridwan, Tawsif, Tabassum, Saushan, Shayera, Nazia, Feeda Bhai, Shagor Bhai, Elita Apu, Nafid Bhai, Mainul Bhai and many others! We used to have the most informal relationship with our editor Shahnoor Bhai and asking him for a treat (and getting it as well) was something that was as frequent as going to work itself! Thanks to my work in Campus, I met some really interesting people, who have made their mark in different fields, from whom I have learnt a lot. I also happened to travel to different places in and around the country, thanks to my job at SC.

But of course, life moves on so here I am doing my Masters in Southampton, but I still try to keep in touch with my former teammates at Campus and try reading the online version of the magazine as often as I can. Team member or not, I still continue to advocate for Campus to my friends and acquaintances, both here in Southampton and in different places of the world.

Star Campus has come a long way since its humble beginning in 2006. This is one of the few magazines where the readers themselves are the contributors and this very fact makes the magazine unpredictable and interesting to read with fresh faces and writers coming up every now and then. On an ending note, I would like to wish Campus a very long and successful journey ahead.

(Mahdin is a Graduate student at the University of Southampton, England )

Simplicity at its best

Shayera Moula

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
-- Lao Tzu quotes (Chinese taoist Philosopher)

We often look at a journey as something that must have taken a long stroll, passed by a billion sights and experienced extraordinary things beyond our imagination. But a journey -- in fact, most journeys -- is simple. Once we look back at them, they are worth it.

Because a journey is a story, Star Campus is a story of many. In its 4th year running, this magazine has looked into the lives of countless tales told by numerous amateur authors across the country. What started with a small step and with a few contributors has over the years invited thousands of youngsters; allowing them to have access to not only a reflection of their lives but also an insight to the many others like them going through the same experiences.

Letting go of the campus life has been a graduation not only academically but even in the various ways I now look at life. Sitting scheduled for another familiar day at work, there have been many who came and went, like a short pit stop in the biggest race of their lives. Some stayed longer while others realised their dreams laid elsewhere. Whatever the choice, the sights and sounds of a newspaper agency never changes all too dramatically. Look to your right, you will find someone engrossed into the monitor screen, as if some secret info is being assimilated and with one blink of an eye that info will be lost forever. Look to your left, someone is lazily shifting in their chair while brainstorming that perfect adjective for the next sentence in their article.

The one thing actively running throughout the day would be the printing machine. Articles, layouts, designs and documents, the word "words" come knocking you down from the minute you enter the office till the moment you slam shut the door after leaving. Sure words are everywhere but you won't understand the depth, the level of ignorance people have of it or how pain words can be until you join a newspaper agency.

But then words are what make up a story and Star Campus is a story of many. More then the place and publication itself, the individuals who pass by you every day are seen as walking-talking stories. Many have wondered why I critic a person based on what shoes s/he is wearing or how they move their hands when they talk. Or even the way they move their eyes. They move left and right when frantically trying to explain the frustrations in their lives. There's a sudden concentration on the details of the floor when someone is trying to admit their fault and there's a direct and deep look in your eyes when they give you the happiest news of their lives. The people who work here are moving stories - each with their own copyrights.

It's a beautiful metaphor really - writers/ reporters with their own stories sitting there and writing the stories of another. A box in a box effect where may be at times when they write, they are actually jotting down a part of their own lives, carefully placing each and every word. After all the story needs to be presented in a way that delights you, no? It's like a recipe - this story, the story of many. Everyone and every experience add its own flavour and sometimes it may be too bitter, sometimes overloaded and spilling out but most of the time it just needs to be simple. Every story is best told when it is simple. Star Campus is a simple story of many.

These simple stories of the simple journey of Star Campus have had a large magnitude of responses and have inspired many to come and write. Many of them had never dreamt of having their voices and experiences shared across the nation. This platform has been truly a stepping-stone towards bringing in the youth together. If the journey continues to pick up more of these tales, then these voices will certainly be able to have a nation-wide impact.

Photos: Ranak Martin

I am Four!

Tabassum Mokhduma

The morning of Sunday, August 06, 2006 was different for me. Though I was happy to start a journey with the vision of linking young minds together, inside me, there was this fear what if people don't accept me easily? What if I fail to live up to the expectations of people? What if…well, there were lots of ifs and buts, stress and excitement as there was no campus-based magazine in English language in Bangladesh. It was therefore a mounting task for me to reach my goal of providing a fun-filled, educative and informative platform for students and teachers.

For the last few days I am reminscing my journey and I became quite amazed to find out that it has been a blissful four-year-old experience! These four years were not very easy to pass by though. Each day I had to face a new challenge. I had to adjust to the frequent changes, tough schedules and even tougher deadlines. But let me reveal the sweetest secret of this journey - even after all the ups and downs, I enjoyed my flight a lot. Because there were always those special people who tirelessly helped me to keep doing better.

Photo: gettyimages.com

From the very beginning, there are the team members who have been there to take care of me under the guidance of the ever smiling “Think Tank” called Shahnoor Wahid the Editor, who always comes up with new and different ideas. The entire team is full of fun-loving, lively students. In course of time, some left while new members joined the team, but I am pretty sure none of them have the idea what they have done for me or what they continue to do for me! Let me tell you something about their work. As it is a contributor based magazine, the team mostly has to edit the whopping number of write-ups sent in by the contributors from different parts of the country (and sometimes from abroad). Besides, they cover different events to keep readers updated. They also organise the literary and musical addas besides staying busy in facebooking. Now please do stop wondering about the hours of facebooking in office as it does help at staying in touch with the large community of readers. But let me tell you a secret, these brats literally leave no room to make my life a living hell! Some are simply chatterbox while some just wait for the chance to strike up a debate; some love to sing while some simply remains glued to tech-news! Always hungry for treats and vacations! Thank God for the Editor who besides being the think tank, every now and then gives treats.

From the very first issue, the tremendous response shown towards me by the readers, contributors, supporters, patrons and well-wishers encouraged me a lot. But at the same time, these encouragements brought huge responsibilities of working hard to live up to the expectations of these people. After each issue, phone calls and emails await, even comments on my facebook page, mostly from students and teachers besides parents and academics both from home and abroad. Some call to congratulate, while some come up with lots of questions about my future plans; some never miss to point out my inadvertent flaws, while some come up with amazing suggestions; some encourage with constructive criticism, while some boost up my confidence to explore new avenues. No doubt, their contribution has immensely enriched me.

I started my journey with the promise that it would work as a platform mainly for college and university students to speak out their minds, but now when I see that even high school students and people from other professions also contribute on various issues including academic and extra-academic activities, a smile peeps on my face. I feel proud when I see people accompanying me in this flight, making me feel special.

People say that I make their Sundays special. But I believe that it is the people behind me who have always helped me make each Sunday a different one and help me try to be on target in my mission to ensure a just environment and platform for the students and academicians as well as other writers.

I wholeheartedly would like to thank you all for helping me become what I am today. Without your kind support and cooperation, it would have been impossible for me to be a part of Star Campus. I firmly believe that you will always be there to make me the Star, the real one.

Congratulations on 4th Anniversary!!!

Nabila Chowdhury

It all started with my best friend's recommendation. She said, "I love the Daily Star, especially the magazines. They have some great articles. I think you will make a perfect writer." I believed her and managed to get in contact with the editors of the magazines and its been a little more than a year, that I have been writing for the Star- a weekly publication of The Daily Star and The Star Campus magazine. My first articles were mostly about life and experiences in the Big Apple - New York city. I shared facts and personal thoughts about various things, residents, and places in New York City. It feels great to be a part of this team as I write and read from the perspective of writers who live miles and miles away from me.

I am a recent graduate, and just completed my bachelors degree. To make this journey complete, and to leave some special thoughts behind, I sat down one evening and wrote about my past years in College. In a nutshell, I wrote about the many beautiful memories that I know I can never forget. I was told that my article titled, "GRADUATION," is perfect and appropriate for the Star Campus magazine. My article was forwarded to the editor, and it was published right before my graduation ceremony, and since then I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Star Campus team. Some of the articles that I've written include topics such as International students here in New York city, fourth of July - America's Independence day, and also a book Review on Dear John.

Daily Star Campus is a great magazine. I recommend the articles to friends and relatives all the time. Honestly speaking, I love all the stories shared. I love the honesty of all the writers, and strangely somehow I can sense and even visualise it often as I read, even though I have no clue what that person looks like or their personality may be in real life. I love the book and movie reviews. It always gives me a new outlook, as I learn more about the many wonderful collection out there. My most favorites are the university stories, jokes section and the photography features. The reason I like the stories about the universities is that it connects to me and my college life. If you think about it, it is always a pleasure and full of meaning when we read something that can be related within. On the other hand, the jokes column always gives me a good laugh. I've always been a big of humor. And lastly, the photography selection is wonderful. I love the shots very much. They are so simple, yet so mesmerizing and touching. I simply love the capture of Dhaka and the residents.

I also like the way the magazine is organised, and how the sections are divided with a purpose. For example, the articles written by writers from abroad are always under the section, 'Distant Diary.' I feel it is a great way to differentiate the writings. The credit definitely goes to the entire star campus team's hard work that has led to the wonderful presentation of this magazine. In addition, I am thankful for the kindness and cooperation of the editor. I have always received fast and prompt reply, followed by the quick publication.

Reading this magazine always fills me up with thoughts and emotions, for a very important reason, which evidently lies to be that it brings me close to home. The writings and the pictures, take me down a long memory lane, and I'm led back to my sparkling child-hood days, where I once again connect to the time and memories, that I've spent in Bangladesh.

(The writer resides at Queens, New York)


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