Sigma Tau Delta takes over campus to celebrate National Day on Writing


Sigma Tau Delta is holding a Penny War to raise money to attend a conference in Pittsburgh this spring.

Shannon Beaudry, Staff Writer

Wednesday, Oct. 20th is the National Day on Writing, a day to explore and celebrate the importance of writing in everyday life. In honor of this day, Francis Marion’s Nu Rho chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English honors society, is hosting a Sigma Tau Delta FMU Takeover.

Sigma Tau Delta president Amanda Morales, along with other members of the society and Francis Marion English professors, has set up a series of events for Oct. 20th. These events were designed in order to stimulate interest in writing and Francis Marion’s English program.

The first event of the day will be Pastries with Professors, which is sponsored by the English Department. It will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the English Faculty Lounge, Founders Hall 105. During this time, students are encouraged to come and meet with the English faculty.

The faculty will be available to answer any questions students may have about FMU’s English program. Also, this is a good opportunity for students to meet the faculty and vice versa.

There will also be free pastries for students who attend. According to Dr. Christopher Johnson, chair of the English Department, there will be a range of delicious pastries to choose from. However, he emphasizes that the importance of Pastries with Professors lies in its potential to connect students with English faculty.

He also asserts that, while the event is partially designed to recruit new English majors, it is also useful for any student who is in the English program or who is interested in the English program. Also, he believes that Pastries with Professors will be beneficial for those students who are new to the pre-registration process in the English department.

“Advising can be intimidating,” Johnson said. “I think that Pastries with Professors will reduce some of that stress.”

While Pastries with Professors was set up particularly for students who are interested in the English program, other events of Sigma Tau Delta Takeover are designed to generate writing in general.

Write Away! is the next event that Sigma Tau Delta has lined up. They are teaming up with Francis Marion’s Writing Center to generate interest in creative writing.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sigma Tau Delta and the Writing Center will have a tent set up on the Founders Hall lawn. There will be three boards on which students can participate in creative writing exercises.

On one board, students can write out seven-letter memoirs and, on the second board, students can write their own Haikus. The third board will be a little more communal. On this board, students will be given the chance to add their own ideas to a continuous story.

The director of the Writing Center, Dr. Jennifer Kunka, is excited about Write Away! and the other events of the day. Therefore, she was happy to collaborate with Sigma Tau Delta in order to garner attention for the importance of writing.

“The National Day of Writing is a good opportunity for everyone in the university to reflect on the importance of writing in their personal and academic lives,” Kunka said.

Another important event for the day will be Publishing with Professors. This will occur in the CEMC Auditorium at 4:30 pm. The purpose of the event is to discuss the process of publishing written works.

Several English professors who have recently had their works published will be speaking on this subject. According to Dr. Matthew Nelson, Assistant Professor of English and Sigma Tau Delta faculty advisor, those who will be speaking include Dr. Christopher Johnson, Professor Lynn Kostoff, Professor Phillip Gardner, Dr. Ken Autrey, and Dr. Ed Eleazer. Each of these professors will be discussing their works, which include creative and scholarly books, and the process they took to have them published.

“Each of the professors have written different kinds of books, from textbooks to fiction, to poetry to academic collections, and have published their books through different kinds of publishers and in different media including e-books,” Nelson said. “So, they’ll bring a range of perspectives to a roundtable discussion of issues related to book publishing.”

Publishing is a major facet of writing. Therefore, Dr. Nelson feels that this event is a positive addition to the National Day on Writing as a whole.

“We thought that hearing from some of the published authors we have here on our English faculty would be a great way to cap off the National Day on Writing,” Nelson said.

Publishing with Professors is the last actual event of Sigma Tau Delta’s FMU Takeover. However, there is another important component to Sigma Tau Delta’s ongoing attempt to bring awareness to the group and to the importance of writing.

Sigma Tau Delta is hosting a Penny War from Oct. 11 to Oct. 29. Until Oct. 27, there will be nine jars in the English Department office, each of which bears the name of a different professor. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to add money of any amount to the jar of the professor of their choice.

The professor who has the most money in his or her jar by Oct. 27 must wear a Halloween costume all day on Oct. 29.

The following faculty members are in the running: Chair of the English Department Dr. Christopher Johnson, Professor of German and French Dr. George Harding, Professor of English Dr. Jon Tuttle, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies Dr. Mark Blackwell, Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Matthew Turner, Professor of English Dr. Peter Whelan, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Nancy Zaice, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Kirk Boyle, and Professor of English Dr. John Sutton.

Some students and faculty have already expressed their preference for who they would like to see in a costume. Some students, like senior English major Staci Poston, have some interesting ideas.

“I’d like to see Dr. Blackwell and Dr. Whelan tie,” Poston said. “They should both dress like wizards and have a wizard’s battle in Founders Hall.”

While the prospect of seeing a professor dressed in costume should be entertaining for most, the Penny War also has a serious purpose. All of the proceeds from the Penny War will go to Sigma Tau Delta to fund a trip to the International Sigma Tau Delta Convention, where members will possibly have the chance to present original written works to an academic audience.

Some members, like junior English major Josh Knight, are very excited about this prospect.

“The convention would be a great opportunity to present our work and learn more about the academic community,” Knight said.

Going to this convention would mean a lot to members of Sigma Tau Delta, and the funds that the Francis Marion community contribute will help the members achieve this goal.

From left: Dr. Lance Weldy, Dr. Matt Nelson, Kristin Lyttle, Amanada Morales and Kendal Hughes show off the baked goods they sold Oct. 14 to raise money to attend the International Sigma Tau Delta Convention.