Students were given a chance to showcase their writing abilities at the ninth annual Celebration of Student Writing event at the University of New Mexico Thursday.
The event showcased displays that included interactive writing games, digital projects and displays of students’ favorite pieces of literature.
Undergraduate students enrolled in English 110, 120 and 220 classes, along with students from various other writing classes at UNM, presented versions of their coursework from the first half of the semester in the Student Union Building.
“A lot of the time, we come to class and we learn stuff there and it’s really enriching, but I think it’s even better when we can share things across classrooms because so many of the instructors, so many of the classes, are doing different things,” said David Puthoff, a graduate instructor and writing coordinator with the English department.
The event was originally created by graduate students, faculty and Associate Chair for Core Writing Chuck Paine in order to give students a space to share their work and see the work other writing classes were producing.
Normally, the event partners with the Lobo Reading Experience, a program that chooses a book each year for students to read and discuss. This year’s book is “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson.
Stevenson was not able to speak at the event, and Puthoff said that could be the reason for a smaller turnout this year.
“I think in past years (brining authors) has been a huge draw, and this year it was just hard getting the author to come speak — we couldn't get him this year,” Puthoff said.
Mariya Tseptsura, a writing coordinator who helped Puthoff organize the event, said that despite the smaller crowd, the event was still a good opportunity for students to display their projects.
“Here students can get a real audience and share their ideas,” Tseptsura said. “They transform some of their writing assignments into something else.”
What students transformed their assignments into was up to them.
Desiray Maez, a freshman criminology major, represented her English class at the event. The class’ project consisted of three posters, each featuring a theme where event attendees could write their favorite part about Albuquerque, what it means to be a Lobo and their favorite thing to do in Albuquerque.
“We all came up with (the presentation) to see throughout the day what everybody else would write down,” Maez said.
The smaller size of this year’s event has prompted the writing coordinators and faculty to consider holding a second event in the Fall semester.
Puthoff said he hopes such an event would be in partnership with the Lobo Reading Experience and would be able to invite an author to speak. Writing coordinators are also planning to have more departments involved in the event.
“I think the University community should be more aware of the creative energy that our undergraduates have,” Puthoff said. “We’re really hoping to get more people involved in future years, because a lot of classes involve writing. It’s not just core writing.”
Tom Hanlon is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @TomHanlonNM.