View full PDF here: ZU Magazine Issue #6: The Butterfly Effect (Spring 2021)


Letter from the editor

In the 1980s, mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz discovered what we refer to today as the butterfly effect. While studying weather systems, Lorenz found that tiny changes in the atmosphere could result in drastic weather changes. In his own words, “a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil can produce a tornado in Texas.”

With this discovery, Lorenzo proved that it is impossible to accurately predict the behaviour of certain systems. He also established the undeniable presence of chaos in nature—a phenomenon that the scientific community would come to embrace by the end of the 20th century. 

However, it has taken much longer for the general public to come around. To this day, we still get frustrated with the weatherman. Uncertainty unnerves us. And when we find ourselves in instances of chaos, we set our sights on the future and hope that we get there sooner rather than later.

For some, that instance may have been college. At times, it sure has been for me. During this semester, I have often wished for graduation to come sooner or for the pandemic to end, refusing to embrace the chaos of everyday life. Most of us have, even though we don’t really mean to do so. But what if we embraced this chaos and unpredictability as the natural phenomenon that it is?

The articles in this issue come at this idea from different angles. From senior farewell pieces to political commentaries on the Biden administration, they explore the chaos that continues to loom over the educational, political and healthcare systems. Our hope is that these stories shed a positive light on the chaos that is so prevalent in our lives today. 

Now that my time as editor-in-chief of ZU Magazine is coming to an end, there are some people I’d like to thank before I sign off. To my staff, I want to say thank you to editors Brandon Gonzales and Candy Plascencia for your continuous hard work and dedication. To art director Olivia Su—your ability to transform a handful of articles into a beautifully-produced magazine never ceases to amaze me. To our staff writers and contributors—your voices form the backbone of this magazine and it has been an honour to work alongside each and every one of you. 

To our faculty advisor Kent Walls, I want to say thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t. You challenged me to become a better journalist and leader during my time at ZU Media and for that I will be forever grateful.  

To the leadership of ZU Media—past and present—I want to say thank you for the memories we made over pizza during our staff meetings and midnight coffees on production nights. To Steven Smith, for his willingness to go down investigative habit holes with me. To Nate Foster, for always putting me to shame with the amount of stories he wrote for the newspaper. To Jamie Joseph, for giving me my first job at ZU News. To so many others. 

Lastly, I wanted to thank our readership for their continued investment in our publication. Though our virtual school year may have distanced us from one another, the storytelling within this magazine has maintained our community’s bond online. 

Whether you’re a graduating senior or freshman, I hope that you come to embrace the chaos and cherish what is often the beauty of unpredictability—or the butterfly effect. 


Anna Savchenko