On March 31, the classrooms of McInnis were overflowing with students and professors from various colleges.
These weekend visitors were not exceptionally early for Monday’s classes but were attending the 18th Annual Mid-Atlantic Writing Centers Association conference that was held at Eastern.
The conference was entitled “Growing More Attentive to the Manner of Writing: Looking at the Writing Center through the Spectacles of Franklin.” It started on the night of March 30 with a reception, and the primary events of the conference were held on March 31.
The conference boasted an attendance of 192 students, faculty and their spouses, according to senior Jessica Tudor. From 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. there were numerous sessions that talked about different aspects of writing, particularly in relation to the college writing center.
English professor and writing specialist John Nordlof was a chair for the event and is also the newly elected vice-president of the MAWCA association.
Eastern’s Writing Center was represented by five students who spoke as a forum at one session and three students who made a poster for a presentation that was displayed in the gym during lunch and the keynote speech.
The five-student forum was composed of seniors Jessica Tudor, Tim Olshefski, John Barker and Alison Duncan and sophomore Matthew Hohn. The topic for Eastern’s session was entitled, “What’s my Line? Exploring the Roles of the Writing Assistant.” Each of the students gave insight about their personal experiences being a writing assistant.
“It was fun to share experiences of working in the Writing Center,” Duncan said.
They all agreed that their session went well, and they felt that the audience was engaged.
“I thought it was very successful,” Hohn said. “The audience had really good questions.”
After the sessions, lunch and a poster presentation were held in the gymnasium.
Sophomore Tara Quinn, junior Kristi Daniels and senior Deb Fresca made a poster with the title “Writing Center in a Box,” which played off the idea of a recipe with the elements of a productive writing center as the ingredients.
The event concluded with a keynote speech, “Benjamin Franklin’s Writing Center,” from Jon Olson of Penn State University and Corinne Thatcher, a graduate from Penn State.
The two speakers gave a collaborative speech relating thirteen virtues associated with Ben Franklin to the thirteen virtues of a successful writing center.
“The conference was a big success; it was the best-attended of these conferences in the last five years,” Nordlof said. “It was a great opportunity to showcase Eastern and what we are doing with the Writing Center here.”