It all started with some freshman hall bonding.
Last year, four friends sat around together making jokes and hypothetical plans in their freshman dorm. As it turned out, some of those plans weren’t so hypothetical after all. This year, those four friends have begun a fast-growing satirical periodical called The Botetourt Squat.
“When we first founded it, we were not really settled on what we wanted [to do] yet,” Zack Quaratella ’14, a staff writer for the Squat, said. “After we found out the rigors of a real paper, we decided to do satire.”
The friends formed their idea for a paper in April. They eventually made their first version with a “sketchy” online pdf maker that eventually “died,” according to Quaratella so the first Botetourt Squat is no longer accessible on the Internet.
Created in the bowels of Gooch, the first version was oriented mostly toward freshmen. Now the staff of the Squat is planning on making a more general paper for all students.
“If you can read and you like funny pictures, [the Squat is for you],” Jordan Obey ’14, a managing editor, said.
The Founders of The Botetourt Squat chose to write satire due to the perceived lack of relevant humorous writing in publications on campus.
“We’re not trying to step on the toes of any other school publications, but there is no consistent and good satire coming out in periodicals,” Quaratella said. “The other [humorous] publication comes out only once a semester, so there’s a time delay between events and when their articles are published.”
While the Pillory only comes out once a semester, the staff of the Squat is planning on putting out issues once a month.
“We’re just trying to inject some relevancy into the art of satire,” Quaratella said.
The founders of the Botetourt Squat admire the style of the national satirical publication The Onion. They said that the writers of the Onion come up with articles by thinking of funny headlines, then writing from those ideas. The writers of the Squat try to emulate that style of innovation.
“Our main sources are the Onion and the Bible,” Obey said.
Along with Jack Crum ’14, editor-in-chief of the Squat, Quaratella, Reynolds and Obey are focusing on getting funding from the Publications Council. They also have been recruiting new writers from the class of 2015. Over 100 freshmen signed up at their booth at the Student Activities Fair. This is just one of the ways they have been gaining recognition on campus; the Squat has also been expanding into social media.
“Some dude put us in Student Happenings,” Quaratella said. “I don’t know who it was.”
“We also have a Facebook and a new Twitter page,” Ben Reynolds ’14, another managing editor, said, “which will probably become very important.”
If the Squat does not recieve funding from the Publications Council, they plan to ask for support from Mark Constantine, Student Activities Director, who has been a fan of their idea for a publication from the beginning.
“We want to establish ourselves as a publication,” Obey said.
Their aspirations, however, are not limited.
“After that, we want to become the main news source on campus,” Reynolds said.