WLP Town Hall Recap

Leanna Florez // Blog Writer

On November 1, 2022, the Writing, Literature, and Publishing (WLP) chairs, Creative Writing chairs, and WLP Student Government Association (SGA) senator Izzy Astuto held one of the most well-attended WLP Town Halls yet. Students across grade levels and concentrations got together to discuss what they love and don’t love about WLP, as well as promote their orgs. 

The Writer’s Bloc

This organization, founded by Rita Chun, is a community for fiction writers at Emerson that helps them to do what they love most—write! It is an encouraging space for writers to get together and feel motivated by each other’s company. In locations ranging from rooms in 172 Tremont to the founder’s own apartment, anyone interested is welcome to join writing sessions and share in the joy with each other. This can be especially helpful for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! 

The club will hold multiple writing sessions per week throughout the month every Friday and Saturday from 4-6 pm in 172 Tremont, room 308. Follow them on Instagram @the_writersbloc for more information! 

Emerson Writer’s Colony Discord

Not feeling up to joining another org? No problem! The Emerson Writer’s Colony Discord founded by Zoe Leonard is a place where writers can communicate with each other about their latest projects. There are chats for reading recommendations, draft swaps, self-plugs, and even one dedicated to all of the submission opportunities Emerson has to offer! 

Over the summer, Leonard ran workshops for the discord members and is continuing the tradition this November! The workshop will be a five-week course where writers can draft their pieces and have them critiqued by peers, resulting in final projects for all involved. Contact Zoe Leonard (zoe_leonard@emerson.edu) for the code to join. 

Emerson Reads YA

One of the concerns expressed at the meeting was a lack of community for those in WLP who are not writers, but are more interested in the literature aspect of the major. Emerson Reads YA, currently run by Co-Presidents Rebecca Verrill and Rebecca Zaharia, is a book club with monthly themes to choose their books and social events, such as bookmark making and literary trivia. On November 8, they will have a bracelet making event in room 301 of the Union Bank building at 8 p.m. They are currently reading The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake!

While some attendees of the town hall stated that they were at first turned off by the org because of the YA focus, the members assured them that they do not solely read YA, and were even considering renaming it. Aside from the book club aspect, their other social events are a great place for readers and writers regardless of major to meet and do crafts with friends. Their Instagram is @emersonreadsya for more information. 

Emerson Poetry Project

For the poets, there is the Emerson Poetry Project headed by Abbie Langmead. They host open mics, events with featured artists, poetry slams, and workshops for poets and performers. There is no experience necessary, and you don’t even have to be a poet to join. Many performers don’t write poetry, preferring to perform the poems of stage-shy writers in the org. On November 14 in LB 227, they will collaborate with Inside Joke to blind-perform bad works of art for an audience, and are seeking submissions now! It can be anything from a poorly-written poem to a TikTok sound, as long as it’ll make the audience laugh. The Google Form to submit can be found in the bio of the @emersonpoetry Instagram page. 

Faculty Events 

If you’re looking for something that isn’t an org, the WLP and Creative Writing faculty have been hosting events featuring local artists and Emerson alumni involved in any area of WLP. At the reading and publishing events, attendees can ask questions to the authors, and some will agree to speak one-on-one after the event. They currently have three events lined up in the spring, so make sure to check them out! 

Topics of Community Discussion 

Aside from the plugs from all of the club members, many more topics were covered by the students and faculty at the town hall. Some grievances were expressed by students, and the faculty did their best to answer their questions and come up with solutions. The urge for more community, especially for non-writers, was brought up multiple times. Suggestions were to reach out to students in your classes, as many are more willing to make friends than it seems. What many forget is that within the WLP and Creative Writing majors, we are all brought together by a shared interest of reading and writing, so if you want friends who read, look no further than the people sitting next to you in class! Older students discussed their embarrassment at the hesitance to reach out because once they did, they made friendships that have lasted from freshman to senior year. 

The low attendance at faculty events was also mentioned. Students discussed a fear of going alone, and therefore not attending at all. For this, the Emerson Writer’s Colony discord is a place where students have mentioned wanting to attend events and found a whole group of people to go with. As previously stated, reaching out to fellow students can be difficult, but rewarding, as students get a social experience and an educational one! The other problem was that many students didn’t know that these events were even happening. Our Emerson emails are constantly flooded with long, wordy emails, and even though we love to read, many of us will barely skim the emails that are sent about the faculty events. Condensing the emails would help to get the attention of students and hopefully boost attendance of these events in the future, and this is something that the faculty plans to do. 

Those on the executive boards for different Emerson magazines discussed the limitations being put on them when it comes to printing. Without telling the heads of these magazines, a limit was placed on them that only allowed them to print 150 copies—as opposed to the usual 400 per magazine that are usually printed. The students were shocked to learn about this—one of them even found out only through word of mouth at the town hall. The lack of communication was frustrating for many, as they would put in their quotas only to not be approved for what seemed like no reason. Limitations on these magazines were especially confusing because most magazine heads said that in the past, all 400 of their copies were picked up by students, and any not picked up were used for the Org Fair to entice new members. Instead of limiting the number of magazines that are allowed to be printed and diminishing the hard work of writers and editors alike, the students suggested that Emerson aid in the distribution of these magazines. One way this could be done is by introducing magazine stands to residence halls where students can have easy access to the magazines featuring the work of fellow students. 

A final grievance is one that was especially timely: classes and registration. With registration right around the corner, students were worried about not being seated in classes they need to graduate. A tip from the teachers was to sign up for the waitlists, as this data is used to see when more sections of a class are needed to accommodate the amount of students who want to take it. A downside to the waitlist, however, is that it goes away too early for professors to reach out to students when spots open within the first few days of classes, a time when many students are adding and dropping courses. Reaching out to professors during this time is recommended because they can’t see who is on the waitlist, so if you email them, they will be able to tell you firsthand if there is room in a class. 

As for the classes themselves, students have been requesting more specialized classes on topics like children’s literature, the murder mystery genre, and other types of “fun” classes. It was decided that a survey for the students in the department on what types of classes they want more of should be sent out to WLP and Creative Writing students. The WLP SGA senator Izzy Astuto suggested that in the meantime, students should answer the SGA surveys sent in their emails with these concerns, and reach out to them with suggestions via their email, isabella_astuto@emerson.edu or their Instagram, @izzy.astuto. 

Professors’ Advice 

At the very end of the event, each professor shared a quick word of advice for students. “Buy stock now” were Professor Roy Kamada’s words of wisdom to Emerson students regardless of major, as he stated the market is at a place that would be beneficial for new buyers. 

Professor Adam Spry shared his mantra, “It is better to be well-rested than well-prepared,” something many college students are learning to live by. 

All of the professors in attendance agreed that office hours should be better utilized by students, even just to talk to them and build a relationship. If a relationship is well-established, students can tell professors which types of jobs or internships they are interested in and ask the professor to be their eyes and ears for when opportunities arise. Many Emerson professors are still connected to current writers, editors, or publishers in the field, and interns are always welcome! Your professors are here to help you succeed, something made evident by the support at the WLP Town Hall.

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