Write-In. Right Here. Write Now.
December 15, 2015
In preparation for finals week, Catawba College's Writing Center hosted its first ever Write-In. The event was held Dec. 2 in the school's administration building, with several rooms acting as designated stations for different modes of writing. Not only did the night inspire students to write well and complete final papers and projects, but also provided fun study breaks, an assortment of delicious snacks, and several giveaways and freebies throughout the evening.
Ninety different schools in six countries participated in the International Write-In, an event that took place across campuses anytime from December 1st through the 10th. For example, other schools that held their Write-In on the same day as Catawba include Del Mar College (TX), Oklahoma State University (OK), and Westchester Community College (NY) to just name a few. Some schools have a long tradition of hosting this event, while others, like Catawba, are new to the game. The combination of geographical difference and specific college cultures creates a very unique experience; no two Write-Ins are the same. The link that connects all of these different events using the same theme is the use of social media. Each college involved in the International Write-In uses a universal hashtag (#intlwritein) to collect pictures and comments from a variety of social media platforms.
Associate Professor of English and Director of the Writing Center, Dr. Margaret Stahr, expressed much excitement about the Catawba's Writing Center being able to host such an original and fresh event. Dr. Stahr admits that she has been interested in doing something like this for a while, and hopes that the experience will "dispel some myths about the solitary nature of writing, and because they want to garner energy for writing that a setting like this can provide."
It is also clear that the event looks to actively engage with individuals who may not have considered the Writing Center something they needed or might have been uncomfortable making a scheduled appointment. Jill Gladstein, Writing Center Director at Swarthmore College and coordinator of the International Write-In, expressed the goal of the program to be "an opportunity to remind students that they aren't alone with their writing by providing a space for them to come together to write."
Catawba's Write-In featured three distinct spaces: a quiet place for writing, a collaborative place for writing, and a place for productive study breaks and sociability. This set up is supposed to emulate the type of behavior good writers often find themselves cycling through while working.
Sarah Bushey attended the Write-In, arriving promptly and staying most of the night, this is what she had to say about her experience: "As a student writer in a writing-intensive discipline, the Write-In hosted by the Writing Center allowed the chance to meet with student writing tutors while participating in a focused group environment. During it, I approached my article review with more focus and diligence than I would otherwise. Being in an environment of individuals focused on completing their work allowed for a strong sense of community all aiming for a common goal: excellence."
Overall, 114 students attended Catawba's first Write-In, resulting in 48 separate writing consultations in just six hours. For nine tutors working shifts throughout the night and one very dedicated Writing Center Director who supervised the entire evening, these numbers were something to get excited about, especially because Catawba had never held an event like this in the past. Writing Center tutor Josh Hill had this to say about the Write-In, "The turnout and overall excitement from the students at the Write-In by far exceeded expectations and made the whole event rewarding and successful. It is clear that a new tradition at Catawba has begun."