On Thursday, Jan. 25, YpsiWrites and Eastern Michigan University’s University Writing Center are launching the first campus-based Writer’s Room in order to bring together all writers at EMU.
The Writer's Room at EMU will serve as a space for writers in the Ypsilanti community to gather and participate in writing workshops or simply work on their own creative writing. The idea for a Writer’s Room originated from YpsiWrites, which is a non-profit, writing-focused organization that serves the Ypsilanti area.
“We had heard from students that they were looking for a space where they could do more creative writing, and we have a couple of GAs (graduate assistants) who took this on and brought it to campus,” Kristine (Kristi) Gatchel, coordinator for the Halle Library location of the University Writing Center and Programs and Partnership Director for YpsiWrites, said.
Aside from YpsiWrites, EMU’s University Writing Center serves as a resource for students to turn to for help with their writing. However, Patrick Flores-Scott, a GA at the writing center and EMU’s campus Writer’s Room co-coordinator, emphasizes that the Writer’s Room is a place to write and be a writer, rather than strictly for writing help like in the Writing Center.
“When you’re writing for class, you don’t necessarily think of yourself as a writer,” Flores-Scott said. “There is something in our development as a writer when we make that shift in thinking of ourselves as writers.”
“We want it [the Writer's Room] to be a place where they can get support from their peers and get support from like-minded individuals,” Sienna Higgins, a GA with the University Writing Center and co-coordinator for the campus Writer’s Room, said. “A dedicated space away from the hustle and bustle.”
The campus Writer’s Room offers a flexible space. The whole time can be spent writing, discussing ideas with fellow peers, or however else they wish to utilize the meeting time. Whereas the Writer’s Room is flexible, the Writing Center is more structured and offers students the chance to book a meeting with consultants and work with them one-on-one on their writing assignments; it is more for academic resources.
“We won’t be giving as much structured feedback, we are going to encourage the students to provide feedback to each other as a peer and as a community versus a tutoring session,” Higgins said.
With the emphasis on being student-run and set by their own expectations, students can participate in the Writing Room by simply showing up and engaging in the writing process.
“I really hope people understand how low stakes it is. No pressure to interact with others or share writing out loud,” Higgins said. “If they just want to be there quietly, they can show up in the space as their most authentic self and write in the way that is best for them.”