The Writing Center: Celebrating 10 years of helping students

Story by Leah Ash, Reporter

Photo courtesy Zach Avery

The Writing Center in the Grace Hauenstein Library. Photo courtesy of Zach Avery.

Students and faculty come to the Writing Center for consultations on all sorts of writing– creative stories, academic papers, and work applications. With its constant, supportive presence on campus, it is easy to forget that the Writing Center is a fairly recent addition to student resources. This year, 2021, marks the 10th anniversary of the Writing Center.

Before the Writing Center was officially created in 2011, students relied on faculty who volunteered open hours during the week to help students with their writing. 

Dr. Gretchen Rumohr, Dr. Jennifer Dawson, and Brian Matzke, Associate Vice President of Student Success, were leaders in setting a foundation for a writing center at Aquinas. They brought in Julie Bevins, who worked with a couple of students to create the Writing Center as we know it today. That group of students are the people who named our Center and created its mission statement.  

Bevins, who has been a consistent presence in the Writing Center as its coordinator, only has good things to say about working there throughout the years.

“I’m continually amazed by the thinktank of consultants we have,” Bevins said. “The Writing Center at Aquinas is not just a place, but a people. I can’t keep up with the creativity that everyone has. It is a privilege to work with everyone here.”

Many routine aspects of the Writing Center have not always been there. This includes the creation of embedded consultants, who work in writing intensive courses specifically. Students have come to rely on having these consultants who understand the content, the assignments, and can really help them work through their various papers.

The presence of COVID-19 has been a major change to the Writing Center, with many adjustments likely to stay permanent. The Writing Center moved from the lower floor of  Wege to the reference desk at the library, becoming more accessible to students. Remote consultations started due to the pandemic, which are another way for students to have greater access to the Writing Center. In the future, even students studying abroad will still be able to have consultations. The Writing Center has consistently grown and developed into a reliable resource on campus for students, and will continue to be that supportive presence even through future changes.

The Writing Center has lots of fun events planned to celebrate their 10-year milestone. Every month this year has an overarching theme that allows the Writing Center to celebrate all students and staff, as well as all the different types of writing. For example, March’s theme is “Going International.” The goal is to highlight the unique perspective international students have on writing. In addition to a monthly focus, the Writing Center will host a raffle at the end of every month. Entering the raffle is quick and easy, with students answering a question that relates to the theme of the month. The prize is a “Writer’s Kit,” which includes a coffee gift card and other items to help inspire students.

While the events will happen throughout the year, there are also two big things that the Writing Center is doing to mark the 10 year anniversary: Writing and publishing a book, as well as gathering Writing Center alumni for a homecoming banquet. It will be a chance to reconnect and meet people who have shaped the way Aquinas functions as a whole in helping students. 

Overall, the Writing Center will commemorate the past, and look forward to a future where students come to the Center not just for help on their papers, but to share joy in writing.

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