Faculty, students celebrate National Day on Writing


Photo by: Christina Xan

English professor Dr. Christine Masters celebrates National Day on Writing for the first time at FMU.

FMU faculty and students hosted multiple activities on Oct. 20 in collaboration with the National Day on Writing, including two interactive booths and in-class writing activities.

FMU’s literary magazine, Snow Island Review (SIR) and English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta (STD) sponsored the two interactive booths that were located on the lawn behind Founders Hall.

Students passing by the booths were given the option to write on either one or both of the sponsored topics for this year: a “six word memoir” or a “two sentence horror story.”

STD and SIR provided multicolored paper and pens to assist in the creative writing process of the participating faculty and students.

Eva Lieben, who is studying for her master’s in business administration, said that she participated in the event only because the booth-workers encouraged her to do so, but that she was glad she did. Lieben said she thought writing was an important way for college students to express themselves.

Another student, senior biology major David Shaw, said that he did not need anyone to convince him to participate.

“I saw all the colors and writing, and I had a creative urge to participate,” Shaw said.

Shaw said that to him, pieces of writing were like pieces of all the people of FMU who were sharing themselves. He said it was a neat way of expression.

Faculty, including Assistant Professor of English and Coordinator of English Composition Dr. Rachel Spear, organized an in-class writing event called “15-Minute Write.”

Spear said that the goal of the event was to have faculty and students across the university, across departments and across disciplines celebrate writing by having their classes write for 15 minutes at noon. This is the first year of the 15-Minute Write, but Spear is planning for it to continue.

Selina Schleppi, an exchange student studying at FMU from the University of Koblenz at Landau in Germany, said that she enjoyed writing in her English class with Dr. Flannagan.

“I like the idea of having such a day to let the students write,” Schleppi said. “I actually did post it on Snapchat because I thought it’s funny that we had something like that to share writing.”

According to Spear, those who organized this event wanted to include as many interested people as possible. Although the event was called 15-Minute Write, they were open to many other ideas to spread writing to FMU students.

According to Spear, professors of English, biology, philosophy and religion and other areas of study participated in the event. Spear said that there were 15 or more faculty members across five or more disciplines and about 450 people who either participated or were informed about the event in class.

Professors who could not participate in the 15-Minute Write, such as those who did not have classes at noon, advertised the writing booths and National Day on Writing in their classes, Spear said.

Spear said that faculty who signed up for the event had the freedom of deciding how to incorporate the exercises in their classes. Some professors created writing prompts that related to their class assignments and others had free-writing exercises.

“The idea that so many individuals on campus will be writing at noon is invigorating,” Spear said. “Our First-Year Composition Program is pleased with this year’s turnout and speculates that the event will gain momentum as time progresses.”

Although the interactive writing booths and the 15-Minute Write were separate events, they were joined together. The STD and SIR volunteers at booths as well as participating professors passed out stickers highlighting FMU’s National Day on Writing participation.

Both events advertised hashtags that stated “#FMUWRITES” and “#WHYIWRITE.” Students participating in both events were encouraged to share photos with the National Day on Writing hashtags and spread the holiday on social media.