By LAURA TAYLOR
The University of Mary Washington participated in the National Day on Writing with themed events in the Hurley Convergence Center, in front of Simpson Library and on the third floor of Combs Hall on Friday, Oct. 20.
“Ultimately this event is about the students,” assistant professor Dr. Brenta Blevins said. “Students today are writing in so many ways.”
This year’s National Day on Writing events took place across the UMW campus in an attempt to highlight the English facilitating locations on campus such as the library, Hurley Convergence Center and Combs Hall. Students participated in the event all throughout campus by actually doing some of the writing events or just reading what was left by their peers at the event stations.
Not only were students involved but professors also played a role by answering the #WhyIWrite prompt on Twitter and reaching out to alumni to get their input.
The National Day on Writing was instituted by the National Council of Teachers of English to recognize writing on college and university campuses across the nation. The Twitter hashtag #WhyIWrite has been used for several years and has gotten mentions from celebrities and famous athletes. One example is Pittsburgh Steelers football player Vincenzo Williams who tweeted, “So ppl can know that I’m more than a helmet and a jersey.”
“Writing is how people accomplish so much activity: professional, civic, entertainment, family preservation and more,” said Dr. Susanne Blevins, assistant professor of the ELC department.
Students at the University of Mary Washington used the National Day on Writing to express themselves.
“I write to express my thoughts and feelings in an organized fashion,” sophomore Jenn Hill said. “I am quite a scatter brained person so attempting to verbally tell people my thoughts is near impossible. However, with writing I can show my ideas, beliefs or feelings in a logical way that helps people understand my point of view.”
Other students had similar responses.
“I don’t write much but I like to write about my math research,” Shannon Haley, senior math major, said. “It gives me a way to express my findings with other mathematicians and spread my knowledge of cryptology.”
Some students also commented on the material that they write.
“When I write, I write journal entries,” said sophomore Sylvan Brier. “I write to get my feelings out and try to put them into words.”
“I either write poems about life experiences and feelings or I write about things I’m passionate about,” sophomore, Allie Coleman said.
Some students do not write much or at all but still stopped to view their peer’s writing out of curiosity for the event. The sticky notes with the six word stories were displayed along the windows of the Hurley Convergence Center catching the eyes of any passersby.
“It was a pleasure to see other writers share their work for their peers to see,” junior, Joshua Staley said. “I didn’t get to participate this year but I am planning on it next year.”
Whether or not students actually participated and did the activities around campus, students enjoyed reading what their peers had written. They enjoyed knowing that they were not the only ones who write to share feelings, express emotions or allow their creative juices to flow.
“I had no idea that so many people actually wrote on their own and for their own purpose,” Staley said.
The University of Mary Washington is looking forward to next year’s National Day on Writing with the hopes that it will be as successful as this year’s event was with an even greater turnout.