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Destler Dodge

On October 20, the University Writing Commons will be celebrating the National Day on Writing by putting up posters across campus which promote writing at RIT. The National Day on Writing was created by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) six years ago in order to “celebrate writing in all its forms,” according to the NCTE website.

David Yockel, a professional consultant for the Writing Commons, says the day's purpose is to "celebrate the writing that we all do, and not just words on paper for academic purposes." Yockel and the Director of Writing Commons Rachel Chaffee stressed the fact that students are writing everyday through texting, photos and other forms of expression. "A lot of people use this day as an opportunity to have the general populace understand that we all do writing on a daily basis ... whether those are text [messages] or emails in today's sort of digital literacy world," according to Yockel.

Every year the National Day on Writing is given a different theme; this year's theme is community. The Writing Commons hopes to bring people together under the slogan, "I wRITe." This is the first time the University Writing Commons has done a celebration on this scale, although they had some smaller activities last year. When asked why the Writing Commons was organizing this event, Rachel Chaffee replied, "As a writing commons, we want to draw more attention to how everyone who's a part of the RIT community writes every day, all the time."

There are going to be several events across campus asking students to participate in the creation of a gallery that will be displayed at the end of the day. They have already asked students to write about what they believe is the most important part of writing on index cards, which are being displayed in the University Writing Commons on the first floor of the Wallace Library. At various venues, including the SAU, Wallace and the Bates Study Center, there will be posters with prompts that students will be asked to write about. At the end of the day, these posters will also be displayed at the Writing Commons. The Circulation Desk at Wallace will be wrapped with paper that students will be able to write on, which will also be displayed. There will be a reception from 4-5 p.m.in the Commons, where students will be able to interact with the display. When students come, "...they will see writing taking place about writing," says Chaffee.

The National Day on Writing isn't just for those who write with words; Yockel also encourages other forms of communication to take action. "[We want to] break through to a photographer, or a filmmaker, to say that listen—the work that you do, it might not be language based, it's still composition ... it's writing in different ways." Chaffee stresses that writing is not just a task or a skill, it is "a social practice." They also hope to bring some attention to all the services the University Writing Commons offers and all the work that they are accomplishing. "We want to draw attention to the work that we're doing and how it can positively impact the campus," says Chaffee. "In the two years that I've been here, I've never had a student who didn't think this service was beneficial to them, but it's also not something that I think every student knows about," comments Yockel. 

The University Writing Commons hopes to create a culture of writing around RIT by allowing people to see how they write every day. The Writing Commons has high hopes for future years; Chaffee wants to see the event grow "bigger and better every year." Stickers will be handed out all day and pins will be given to students who attend the reception at the end of the day.