On Feb. 4, 2004 the very first issue of The Cougar's Byte was released. Initially titled, "Kean Students Online," the newsletter was created with a vision to connect students with upcoming events and opportunities around campus and has continued to expand its mission ever since. This year, Monday, Feb. 4, 2019, The Cougar's Byte celebrates its 15 year anniversary of bringing Kean news to the Kean community.
The idea for a student run newsletter came from President Dawood Farahi who partnered with Vice President for Student Affairs Janice Murray-Laury to make the project come to fruition.
Murray-Laury said, "Dr. Farahi wanted a student-centered way to highlight Kean's best and brightest students and showcase the vibrant campus life experience at the university, while allowing other students to develop their professional skills by producing the publication. Our students were doing amazing things and we needed a way to help other students learn about them and stay up-to-date with information about the campus."
In the 15 years that The Cougar's Byte has been in existence, the newsletter publication has expanded into an online presence through The Cougar's Byte website, YouTube channel, social media and "The Cougar's Byte 'Byte size' edition" for email. With all these new developments came an expansion of The Cougar's Byte staff to include a Writers and Editors unit, Graphic Design unit, Creative Marketing unit and Creative Media unit who all work hand in hand to promote and inform the Kean community.
The Cougar's Byte newsletter, that was then dubbed as Kean Students Online, was headed by the Office of Student Life and Leadership Development (SLLD). SLLD itself would eventually develop and be re-titled to present day Center for Leadership and Service (CLS) come 2009. The Center for Leadership and Service in its entirety houses The Cougar's Byte newsletter publication, Leadership Institute, Community Service and Volunteer, Greek Life, Jumpstart and the Involvement Center.
In conjunction with the shared mission of all CLS departments, The Cougar's Byte staff and faculty work together with all other aspects of CLS in staffing and covering a variety of both CLS in house and university-wide events, along with the publication of the print, online and mass media versions of The Cougar's Byte.
Kean alumna, Strawberry Gallagher, who worked as a staff writer for The Cougar's Byte from 2010-2012 and later as a graduate assistant for the Involvement Center from 2012-2014 stated that, "Working for the Center for Leadership and Service allowed me to feel as though I was contributing to my university through my writing [in The Cougar's Byte] and experience in [the Involvement Center]. If I did not work for The Cougar’s Byte, I would have been a commuter student who just worked most of the time outside of Kean, went to class and left. My experience as a student, both undergraduate and graduate, was definitely enhanced by my ability to meet different students, staff and faculty and being able to become a resource for others."
Coordinator for Student Involvement and Kean alumnus Jonathan Lopez had worked a variety of positions within the different components of The Cougar's Byte as an undergraduate student between 2009 and 2013.
Having experienced and considered both the student and faculty perspectives, Lopez said, "I think [The Cougar's Byte] is really important. I think students don't realize what the full benefit is to having a newsletter that just gives you a lot of information- it connects you to events, gives you information that's useful and it takes on a different perspective in that it sheds a positive light onto things. If students use it and read it then it's very beneficial for them [in regard to] staying on top of what's happening at Kean."
In the 15 years The Cougar's Byte has been in place, many students have been impacted through the work of the publication. The Cougar's Byte would like to extend a thank you to all readers and past and present workers who have shared in Kean University experience through The Cougar's Byte.
For more information or to see how you can get involved with The Cougar's Byte, visit our website, call us at (908) 737-5179 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cougar's Byte staff are also available in person in the Miron Student Center (MSC), Room 215 or during paper distributions on Tabling Tuesdays where anyone can grab a free copy of the newsletter.