Writing center moves

Meg Lavery

The old facility used to be a residence hall and was not specific to the needs of the staff and students, said Writing Center director Paula Gillespie.

Senior Sheila Keane, a tutor at the Writing Center, said the atmosphere of the old location turned a lot of students off to getting help. Full of tiny offices, poorly lit and with only a few computers, the writing center was not technologically equipped, nor was it a stimulating environment.

“It was kind of depressing to walk into,” said the center’s receptionist, sophomore Christine Edgar.

According to Keane, the poor setting was the center’s greatest disadvantage. Previously, students had to walk to the far west end of campus, up four flights of stairs and down a hallway just to acquire the help the needed help on an English paper.

The location was so bad, Gillespie said, that students “had to leave a trail of breadcrumbs” on their way.

The writing center is now “in the heart of campus,” Keane said.

Students can take advantage of its convenience by stopping by anytime, even with a quick question, said senior Liz Fernholz, a tutor.

“It’s an awesome resource,” freshman Zach Frankowski said. “It’s support for your paper and provides confidence.”

Frankowski also said everything students need to use in the center is just around the corner and that the current space is large and hospitable.

According to Keane, the great thing about the writing center is that it is students working with fellow students.

“There’s a feeling of empathy — all the tutors know where the student is coming from because they had to trudge through the same classes,” Keane said.

Students and tutors “work together, collaborate and brainstorm. There’s no one person in charge of the session,” tutor Angel Hilson said.

There are three to four tutors on hand on any given day, according to the center. The writing center welcomes all types and sizes of papers. Tutors say students should be aware that lengthy papers take more than one session to go over. Tutors are willing to answer specific questions or just read over the entire thing, and will usually begin with having the writer read the paper out loud.

There is much more traffic in the new center, so much so that the center was forced to close walk-in conferences.

“We’re almost always booked,” Edgar said.

Calling ahead for an appointment is helpful because of the increase in demand, according to the tutors. The Writing Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with Saturday hours from 12 to 6 p.m. Occasionally tutors are available after scheduled hours on weeknights and weekends, students don’t need to make an appointment for those times, according to tutors.