Parents Leadership Council Supports Fall Undergraduate Writing Retreat

On November 14, undergraduate students across campus gathered in the reading room of the Miller Learning Center for an afternoon of writing – and they wrote.

Supported by a grant from the Parents Leadership Council and hosted by UGA English teachers and writing program administrators Lindsey Harding, Sara Steger, Becky Hallman Martini and Elizabeth Davis, 49 students from across campus enrolled at this year’s undergraduate writing retreat. The retreat has hosted students majoring in English and English Education, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Computer Science, Journalism, Economics, Health Promotion and more.

Nearly 50 students from across campus registered for the 2021 Undergraduate Writing Retreat. (photo sent)

Attendees enjoyed a series of breakout sessions led by Matt Kliewer and Lea Davidson, writing mentors for graduate students in English and Geology, respectively. During these sessions, students met in small groups to discuss scientific writing style, graphs and charts, business writing, brainstorming, and other topics. For Kliewer, “Seeing this kind of event as a doctoral student. candidate made me more than a little jealous that I didn’t have the same type of event or space when I was a student. The students were so engaged, their projects were so interesting and smart, and I’m so glad I was able to help them out with their great work. »

All participants also had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a consultant from the UGA Writing Center to talk about their current writing projects. Beyond these writing-related amenities, the retreat provided participating students with the food and refreshments they needed to write.

“It was wonderful to see students talking about their projects with consultants and participating in the workshops. Writing retreats help develop a sense of community that belies the idea that writing is only and always a solitary activity,” Steger said.

“I absolutely loved the retreat,” said Summer Porter, an English and Entertainment and Media Studies major. “I had lots of coffee, healthy snacks and sweet snacks to refuel in a comfortable and focused environment. Having all the graduate students and professors available to help me was fantastic, as I usually wouldn’t have such convenient access to writers. I wish I could do this every weekend, to be honest. Having a shared space with other writers specifically designed to nurture your writing sometimes makes all the difference.

“It’s a great excuse to disconnect, relax, and check off huge, daunting projects off your to-do list in a way that doesn’t feel stressful,” another student said.

Students left the retreat with revised essays and presentations, completed writing assignments, and drafts for new projects ranging from articles to application essays. For participating students who completed a post-retreat feedback survey, 80% found the event extremely useful and 50% said they would attend a monthly writing retreat, if offered. Thanks to the support of the Parents Leadership Council, the hosts are delighted to be able to offer a spring retreat for the first time in April 2022.

Scott R. Banks