Photo by Hannah Clark/ THE CHIMES
In this year’s Celebration of Student Writing, which took place on April 15, the English department included its first-ever open mic, presenting students’ poetry, as well as fiction and non-fiction pieces at Fluor Fountain. Students in the spring semester of English 112 presented everything from original poems to paintings at their interactive booths.
When students checked in, the information desk provided free shirts for attendees and were encouraged to collect tickets that could be redeemed for prizes, such as stickers, cotton candy and popcorn.
According to English professor Dale Sprowl, the CSW focused on this year’s Biola theme of Spirit and Story, emphasizing the analysis and research of biblical stories to unify narratives under Christ.
“This year, because we are working with the theme of Spirit and Story, the students’ job is to get other students involved in whatever their booth represents,” Sprowl said. “Many of the students are asking for sins, problems and prayers and asking them to share so that we can experience unity in Christ through our stories.”
NEW ADDITIONS TO CSW
In keeping with the theme, the English department decided to include an open mic, where previous student applicants had the opportunity to present their written works to those attending. Two open mics were held, one at 5 p.m. and the other at 6 p.m.
“One of the things that we are doing this year, is we have an event that we are calling an open mic, that is for students to share a part of their story, so this is an activity that goes along with the Spirit and Story theme,” interim director of the writing program Christine Watson said. “We had people enter that and then we picked people to be able to share. They are given the opportunity to share their ideas. These are their stories.”
Additionally, booths featuring students’ research projects surrounded Fluor Fountain, instead of the usual location, Metzger Lawn. According to reference services librarian Stacie Schmidt, the new location encouraged students’ involvement in all the activities.
“I love that this is at Fluor Fountain this year,” Schmidt said. “Students don’t have to walk across the whole lawn to see all the booths. Everything is in one place and it allows students to see and be more involved in all of the activities.”
IMPACT OF THE CELEBRATION
During the celebration, students were given the opportunity to share research from their classes to impact Biola’s campus for Christ. Freshman studio arts major Noa Melendez researched a poem about Mary Magdalene’s relationship with Jesus.
“The story talks about the Holy Spirit and how he transfixes the hearts of those who follow and listen to him,” Melendez said. “Mary Magdalene is someone that followed Jesus and her story was completely changed by Him, just like we should follow the Holy Spirit and be transformed.”
According to Watson, the event allowed student writers in the English department to share their research with their peers and receive feedback as part of the writing process.
“Giving each other feedback and participating in your scholarship, in your writing, in whatever you’re inhibiting, talking through it and having the social part play into the work is invaluable to the learning process,” Watson said.