English Department Puts On First Annual #UDaytonWrites

Carolyn Kroupa 
Contributing Writer

The first annual #UDaytonWrites, an afternoon celebration of writing and all the ways it impacts people’s lives, was held in Humanities Commons on Oct. 19.

#UDaytonWrites was sponsored by the Department of English and took place on the National Day of Writing, which was started by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The event highlighted the importance and power of writing in all its forms.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the National Day of Writing and the first year UD celebrated it. There were a variety of activities, such as an open mic, writing a six word story and creating a zine (a small scale, self-published magazine targeted for a niche audience).

Participants had the opportunity to meet the Flyer News and Orpheus (UD’s literary magazine) editors and learn about the Write Place and Sigma Tau Delta (the English honor society).

The Social Justice club also sold baked goods.

There were poster boards scattered around with the phrase “Why I Write.” People could write their responses on the boards.  Some answers to “Why I Write” included:

  • “to share my story”
  • “to help me think”
  • “to express myself”
  • “to get away from reality”
  • “to be creative”
  • “to strengthen and express my world view”
  • “to help others”
  • “to help others know that they aren’t alone”

Margaret Strain, director of writing programs, said these responses will be archived to show the literary practices across the university and to get the word out for the event next year. Strain herself even took part in the open mic, sharing her story of how she began to write.

Teresa Saxton, lecturer in the English department, assisted people in creating a zine. She explained that the beauty of zines is the idea of “connection, not perfection.”

Zines are a means of communication that bring people together. Saxton remarked students often get caught up in academic writing, but there are more ways to use writing than just for professional reasons. There are no rules to zines, which takes off the pressure associated with writing and allows people to write what they need to say.

This free event drew the interest of many students who are interested in writing and sharing stories. Students and professors used the open mic to recite their original poetry. Some even played guitar or sang.   

Caroline Scarazzo, first-year special education major, came to read her poem “Fading into A Stranger” for extra credit in her English 100 class.

“I’m really nervous; I hate presenting in front of people, but I’m excited for this opportunity,” she said.

The atmosphere of the event was inspiring and encouraging to all, true to the tagline of the event, “Be bold. Share your words.” Regardless of experience or expertise, students got to engage in writing and left encouraged to write.

Photos courtesy of Christina Klimo.

Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper