MU program celebrates National Day on Writing

The program offered writing marathons, games and prizes.
Junior Jeff Perkins writes a poem celebrating National Day on Writing on Thursday outside Memorial Union. Students were able to write poems on paper or magnetic boards in exchange for pizza.

The National Day on Writing was established to appreciate writing and help people learn from the writing of others. To celebrate, MU's Campus Writing Program set up shop on Lowry Mall to encourage students to write and enjoy writing.

The program, established in 1984, runs and reviews all of the writing intensive courses offered at MU.

"Basically, this program helps faculty with the Writing Intensive courses and works with the Campus Writing Board to approve WI courses," program director Amy Lannin said. "We hope to develop a writing enriched curriculum and actually guide the teaching of writing instead of just assigning it."

One way the Campus Writing Program is attempting to reach out to students is through writing marathons. A writing marathon consists of three to five students walking to any location on campus and then writing about it, nonstop, for 10 minutes. The writers then share their work with the group and move on to a new location.

"It's a good way for students to write in response to a new environment," Lannin said. "We've had older students reflect upon their time here by moving around campus and writing. Writing is enjoyable, even therapeutic."

According to the National Day on Writing website, writing is something that needs to be practiced throughout a person's life.

"When you start writing, it slows your thinking and makes it visible," Lannin said. "you say what you are thinking, and it allows you to learn about your thinking. Just the physical act of writing can help you remember."

The website also emphasizes the need for effective communication throughout life.

"If you can't make yourself understood, it doesn't count," Campus Writing coordinator Catherine Chmidling said.

The program is also under new leadership, as Lannin took over for Jeff Rice as Campus Writing's director in June.

Chmidling has been with the program since 2004 and has seen different directors come and go.

"Everyone has a different sort of take," Chmidling said. "Amy is a teacher from the English department, and that's a newer aspect. I think every change brings in more people, and that's always a good thing."

Lannin said her time in the position so far has been positive.

"There's always a transition, but I think it's been great," Lannin said. "We are reaching goals to increase attention we're doing a lot of good things as well as continuing the strong work of the Campus Writing Program."

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