State of the (Writer’s) Union, The Elm


A piece I wrote for Washington College’s newspaper The Elm during my senior year of college about where the humanities stands in an increasing tech-focused world.

Every year the president of the U.S. gives a status update to Congress and the American people with a State of the Union address—but now we shift the focus to the humanities nationwide and in particular, writing at Washington College.


Writing at WC

WC’s literary tradition is evident across the board, from a curriculum that stresses writing with required writing intensive courses and first-year courses like English 101 and GRW to the esteemed Sophie Kerr prize. Programs for writers abound with offerings including the Poetry Club, “The Collegian,” the Kiplin Hall trip, “The Pegasus,” internships and more.

Between attending Literary House events, completing classwork, participating in a multitude of clubs, and maybe even blogging for fun, students are spread thin. “There are so many student opportunities on campus—it’s an embarrassment of riches really,” said Dr. Kathryn Moncrief, chair of the English department. “Students have a lot of choices to make with how they’re going to spend their time.”

With only so many hours in a day, students make decisions, leading some student-run organizations to suffer more so than others. The Writers’ Union, for example, is on hiatus according to Dr. James Hall, associate professor of English. He said that they plan to recharge next semester.

Senior Rachel Brown leads “The Collegian” team as Editor-in-Chief but has noticed the staff shrinking over her time at WC. “We’re having a hard time getting and keeping staff writers,” she said. “When I was a staff writer, I think we had maybe five or six and now we have three.”

Brown chalks the fluctuations up to normal cycles of varying student interest. “I think writing is a big draw for this school,” she said. “I hope that people are not just losing interest in writing as a whole.”


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