By Killian Beeler
In the late 60s and early- to mid-70s, the University of Dallas was in its adolescence — old enough to have developed a sense of identity, yet young enough that the school’s ethos thrived more on adventure and experimentation than on established traditions or organizations — a group of creative students took it upon themselves to fill a void in campus life. The lack of a student life news source that could quickly inform students of all the happenings of the small but vibrant campus led these innovators to establish the eccentric, atypical publication, “Outgribe.”
The strange title comes from the famous “Jabberwocky” poem found in Lewis Carroll’s sequel to “Alice in Wonderland,” “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.” In the work, the made-up word is used as a verb in its past tense form, “outgrabe.” Later in the story, the character Humpty Dumpty tells us that “‘outgribing’ is something between bellowing and whistling, with a kind of sneeze in the middle.” The bizarre term fit well for a very much “do-it-yourself” student publication made to engage and enlighten a rather unique student body, on a college campus (in a far less developed Irving) that lacked much of the day-to-day entertainment and sources of information much of American youth now take for granted.
It was something in between a full-blown newspaper and a newsletter, and although a few of the issues of “Outgribe” featured a more standard design, the vast majority of editions were original in their format. Often they featured a front-and-back 11-inch by 17-inch piece of colored paper, with a unique student-drawn cartoon forming the background of each page. The humorous and often lighthearted content would range from advertisements for student parties or articles about campaigns to start a college radio station to reviews of campus-wide lectures by such thinkers as Viktor Frankl, author of the renowned work, “Man’s Search For Meaning.”
This completely student-led initiative became so successful and such a benefit to the campus that it was actually recognized by the school in the University of Dallas Self Study Report (1972-73) as an example of how to improve campus life. The spunkiness and passion of the students who founded and ran the publication are a witness to us current students and our ability to improve the campus and the UD experience through our own independent efforts. If you need some inspiration, go bother Sybil Novinski in the UD Archives (open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.) behind the Fishbowl, check out this neat blast from the past and outgribe for “Outgribe!”