UTEP published the Flowsheet as the school’s official yearbook from 1922 to 1972. In 1921 the school had been included in the main yearbook of the University of Texas, the Cactus; however, the campuses of the College of Mines in El Paso and the University in Austin were too far apart–and the student bodies too dissimilar–to keep their student activities in the same yearbook.
Of all the university’s publications, the Flowsheet depicts campus life most clearly. Unlike NOVA, the Flowsheet does not actively seek donors for the school by accentuating the university’s positive growth. Moreover, unlike El Burro, the Flowsheet goes to no lengths to satirize or parody student life. The Flowsheet simply reflected student life. The editorial staff did little to explain or obfuscate their narratives because the publication’s primary readership had experienced the majority of events depicted.
The Flowsheet illustrates how changes beyond the campus grounds dramatically altered and shaped campus life. Where NOVA and El Burro discuss and analyze changes taking place in the region, the nation, and further abroad, the Flowsheet shows how those changes manifested in the lives of students and faculty.
In a 1971 article in NOVA Richard Smothermon, the Flowsheet’s editor, described the publication’s trouble: “the basic reason for this .. is loss of campus support,” Smothermon stated, because “many students come to the El Paso Campus for only short term periods” and “since these students do not plan to graduate from this University, they feel it unnecessary to purchase a yearbook.” Smothermon carefully articulated the yearbook’s fiscal responsibility in regards to printing costs as well as the systemic problems involving such a publication at UTEP. Unfortunately, his careful analysis was quite accurate, as the Flowsheet ceased publishing in 1972. The yearbook would later return in 1985 under the new title: Dzong-La, meaning “The Fortress at the Pass,” but the Flowsheet had come to an end.
The Special Collections Department at the UTEP Library has started a digitization project that will include the Flowsheet. Although this will undoubtedly take some time, we can all look forward to browsing the Flowsheet from the comfort of our own computers shortly.
Andy Klooster served as an assistant in the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library. He is currently an MA student in History at UTEP.