"Perfecting the Process"

Perfecting the Process

The Center for Writing and Speaking helps students put pen to paper.

Everyone is familiar with the “three Rs” of education, but to many writers, a different alliterate mantra often rings true: Write, Revise, Repeat.

To help Ursinus students master their skills and tap into their creativity, the Center for Writing and Speaking—located on the third floor of Olin Hall—has become a valuable resource for aspiring scribes.

“Every writer needs someone else to look at their paper to give them feedback, to give them second pair of eyes,” says Talia Argondezzi, director of the Writing and Speaking Program. “The philosophy for the Center for Writing and Speaking is that writing takes place in the presence of others, through conversation and constant revision.”

Through the center, Ursinus writing fellows—of various majors and academic disciplines—help the writer, not just the paper. By providing students with writing tools and techniques, they aide students with the collaborative process of writing.

Writing fellows can either work in the center with individual appointments, or work with an assigned class. Both positions have their nuances, says Courtney DuChene ’19, a writing fellow.

“Working with a class is the most lucrative path for a writing fellow, but I also enjoy getting to work with the same students on a more regular basis to see how they grow as writers. Center hours are also nice because I get to read papers on a variety of different topics.”

Argondezzi says, “We like to think about writing not as a product that is to be created, not something in your head that you have to perfect, but more of a process where you find out what you know. It’s the writing itself that helps you get in touch with your knowledge.”

On the advice she gives to first-year students about the process of writing, DuChene suggests, “Take outlining and the drafting process seriously during CIE (the Common Intellectual Experience). It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I fully developed my writing process and that was a mistake as professors expected a lot more from papers in upper level classes.”   

Clara Kiss ’18 and Luke Robles ’21.Clara Kiss ’18 (left), a Center for Writing and Speaking fellow, helps Luke Robles ’21 revise an academic paper.Fellows engage students with their papers in order to promote the broader importance of writing and community on campus.   

This year, the Center for Writing and Speaking has expanded the types of classes the fellows assist. In addition to CIE, the fellows will work with students in mid-200 level classes within a variety of academic disciplines. The center has also established a writing fellow peer mentorship group for new and upper-class fellows.

Furthermore, Argondezzi says, “We are thinking about having some sort of writing festival where we will hold open hours and anyone can write in the company of a writing fellow.”

The center is also promoting a writing community on campus, building on the already diverse range of writing opportunities at Ursinus. November, which is National Novel Writing Month, prompts the Center to provide unique, community-based writing opportunities for students.

Other opportunities for writing on campus include The Grizzly (the student newspaper); The Lantern (literary magazine); Lavender Roots (a Feminists in Action zine); Literary Society; and the Creative Writing House.

By Madison Bradley ’18