October 29, 2009 marked the first annual National Day on Writing. The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) established National Writing Day to explore and celebrate the place of writing in our lives. The US Senate even took a few minutes to pass a resolution declaring the National Day on Writing. The idea is a good one, as people are writing more than ever before –in multiple media and for different purposes and audiences. Clear and effective writing, moreover, is indispensible for full and meaningful participation in civic and professional life.
The Writing Task Force at Keene State College participated in this national celebration by offering the College community an opportunity to showcase our personal and professional writing. We designed “Keene Writes” to showcase the diverse forms of writing produced by faculty and staff. A table at the center of the room was filled with books, journal articles and other writing; we featured excerpts from the blogs of faculty and staff; Jeff Friedman, one of the accomplished writers on our faculty, led workshops on poetry writing; and we staged a headline writing competition, a cartoon caption and a six-word memoir contest.
The event was a success. Over three hundred people visited the Mountain View Room in the Student Center. The premise that people are writing more than ever before—that writing is a daily activity that contributes to personal, professional and civic life—was exemplified by our participation in the National Day on Writing. The members of the Writing Task Force are already looking ahead to next year with plans to feature staff, faculty, and student writing with our ongoing commitment to strengthening the culture of teaching and learning at Keene State College through writing.
To extend the exploration and celebration of writing through June 2010, my colleague Katherine Tirabassi set up two archives at the NCTE Gallery of Writing to feature work at Keene State College: a gallery for student writing at http://galleryofwriting.org/galleries/633720/ and a gallery for faculty and staff at http://galleryofwriting.org/galleries/627684/. If you are a student, faculty or staff member, please consider submitting something to one of the archives.