Brushfire Volunteering 

Get Involved with the Publication!

Hello! Thank you for your interest in volunteering with Brushfire. As UNR’s student-run literature and arts publication, we love involving the student body alongside our staff members as we work to produce journals, zines, and other creative projects. 

We have weekly meetings on Fridays at 3:30 pm, in room 331 of the Center for Student Engagement (third floor of the joe). Many of our volunteer opportunities can be completed asynchronously, but it’s always fun to come into the office. Working collaboratively is a big part of what we do at Brushfire, stop by and say hi! 

Without further ado, check out some of the many ways to help out our team:

Willing to Spread the Word?

If you want to support Brushfire, but aren’t ready to commit to fully volunteering don’t worry! We understand that life is hectic, and one of the best ways you can support the publication takes no time at all. 

Many students here on campus aren’t aware that there is a university publication dedicated to giving a platform to student artists and writers. Since you know about Brushfire, let people know!

Submit, Submit, Submit!

Encourage people to share their work with us. The journal always loves submissions, and if you or your friends have a work you’re proud of, don’t hesitate to send it our way! Brushfire accepts submissions year-round, and if there’s a time when our submittable account isn’t open come yell at us. 

The date to be considered for the Fall edition is October 14th, while the cut-off date for the Spring edition is March 14th

This year marks Brushfire’s 75th edition. We’re excited to increase the page count of volume 1 (fall) and volume 2 (spring), from 64 to 76 pages. This lets us feature more artists and writers than ever before, so we need all the submissions we can get!

Remember to keep in mind that Brushfire only accepts submissions through the website Submittable (, but the platform is pretty user friendly! Links to submittable and a bunch of other Brushfire-related things can be found on our website 

Know an Artist You Want to Spotlight?

Brushfire also is always searching for student and local artists to spotlight on our website! Help us out by connecting us with interested artists or writers. 

Know or are someone who would like to be spotlighted? Let us know, here:

Brushfire Merch?!

Another way to help out Brushfire is to let us know if you want or would wear merch! Our staff is eager to produce things like buttons, magnets, and even T-Shirts! 

Fill out this form to let us know what you would be interested in, and if you’d want to work with our visual arts director to help make it:

Interested in Building the Journal?

There are many steps that go into each and every finished journal. From copy editing, to design, to pairing submissions there’s something for everyone to find interesting! 

Generally, these volunteer opportunities are arranged in chronological order. We have to review and select pieces before we can pair them, we have to have pairing before we can design, and we (for the most part) have to finalize design before we can copy-edit. 

We’ll try to break down the various ways, if you have a little more free time, you can get in the nitty-gritty of Brushfire journal building:

Submission Review Panel

(current – November 4th) 

Perhaps what we need the most volunteers for is our review panel. Brushfire gets alot of submissions, and we want to make sure as many perspectives interact with each piece as possible. 

If you want to be part of our review panel, this involves gaining access to our Submittable team account and actually working with artist’s submitted pieces! If you’re more into art, you can help us rate and review our visual art submissions and photography. If you’re more inclined to read, the journal receives short stories, creative nonfiction, and many, many poems that we would also love opinions on!

Alongside our editors, the volunteer review panel gets to decide which pieces make it into the final journal. This is an extremely important job and we would love your thoughts, critiques, and review of any submission you’re willing to work with!

Submission Pairing Panel

(November 4th- November 18th) 

After our editors and review panel read and look through all of our submissions, we’ll have a general idea of pieces we want to build our journal volume with. All these pieces are thrown into a google drive, where we’ll then begin the process of deciding which pieces work well together. 

The paring panel focuses on making connections between art and writing, and deciding what pieces would work well on the page together. You’d be tasked with making the call if, for example, a certain photograph works better with a certain poem or a different short story.  

Once we have pairings we like and also a few visual art candidates for full stand-alone pages, we’ll start throwing the pieces into the program we use to actually build the journal – Adobe InDesign. 

Things will be rough and ugly, no pretty backgrounds or added design flourishes, but what we really want to do at this step is to finalize the order of our pairings, cut any that don’t quite fit the narrative momentum, and really decide what the general concept/broader themes of the journal we’re producing is. 

The two weeks of submission pairing is the time when Brushfire has to do the most heavy-lifting. We’d always love more helping hands during our grinding season!

Volunteer Journal Designers

(November 18th – Journal completion, estimated early December) 

Once the process of paring submissions and finalizing their order finishes, we’re down to making things pretty! If you volunteer at this time, you’d be working alongside our visual arts director deciding what background colors work well with paired pieces, how things should sit on the page, and what additional design details we can add to make the journal pop! 

Volunteering at this time means working in Adobe InDesign, but you don’t have to have any prior experience with the program. In fact, this is a great opportunity to gain some familiarity with the software, which is widely used by many publishing companies!

Volunteer Copy-Editors

(November 18th – Journal completion, estimated early December)

While Journal Design is revving up, our copy editors don’t miss out on the fun either! Each piece has to be carefully read and prepared for publication. While we’re not trying to be sticklers on grammar, Brushfire’s copy-editing process makes sure there aren’t any spelling errors, punctuation mistakes, or other problems in our written pieces. We also make sure artist names are properly inputted, as well as keeping a keen eye out for anything that isn’t where it should be! 

If you’re looking into a career in editing, this is a very practical volunteer experience! 

(Phoebe here breaking away from the Brushfire ‘we’ of this page so far, but I personally love copy-editing. It’s one of my favorite parts of the whole journal process! There’s something really satisfying about polishing up the pieces and making them as perfect for publication as they can be.) 

Beta Readers

(Estimated early December)

At last we come to the final volunteer opportunity for the BTS of Brushfire journal building. When the journal is almost ready (and our eyes are almost tired of it!) we begin our final read throughs before the volume is sent to the printer. 

Beta Readers get access to the final drafts of our PDF files for early reading access! Tell us what you think, hunt for errors, anything we missed, or if there’s anything you’d want to see that could make the journal better. 

Into Audiobooks?

Brushfire records audiobooks, and this school year we’re trying to be more active than ever! The team has an amazing audiobook producer, who you’d be working alongside if you want to help create Brushfires in audio form.


Down to read previous editions of the Brushfire? Our volunteer narrators get to come into the studio and record for our previous editions!

Down to Market or Promote?

Brushfire is always trying to reach out and engage with the community. Have a good idea for a social media post or poster encouraging people to submit? Let us know, or collaborate directly with our social media manager and visual arts director! 

Have a great way to showcase/promote Brushfire? Let us know, here:

More into Reading and Writing?

Although all the writing/prose in the Brushfire publications is taken directly from submissors, there are some opportunities for volunteer writers!

Website Writers

The Brushfire staff is working towards beautifying our very sad website and making things as informative as possible. We want to archive all our previous publications in one spot for our readers! 

However, these archive pages are looking a little barren! If you’re an avid reader and want to read then write an introduction for some volumes to be featured on our website (with credit, of course) we’d love for you to do so! 

Here’s an example of our latest volume in the archive, with only the editors note as an intro:

Blog Takeover

As part of our website expansion project, the Brushfire staff is working on establishing a blog and newsletter! Do you have a cool article you’ve written you want featured? Send it over to us and potentially have it displayed on our site.

Okay! That's a Lot. Now What?

Your next steps are us to you! Help us out as little or as much as you want, mix and match the above opportunities, and come in when you can. Brushfire is YOUR student publication, make your volunteering experience what you want it to be! 

Let us know what volunteering duties you’d like to try with this form: