On Nov. 9, the Writing Center hosted a mystery event for all Taylor students inspired by the university’s 175th anniversary.
Every semester, Julie Moore, director of the Writing Center, and her tutors seek to create new ways to engage with students and provide more familiarity about what they offer.
Last October, they launched “The Lost Art of Letter Writing” where each residence hall was given stamps in effort to encourage students to write letters. During the week’s campaign, Carie King, associate professor of English, and Elizabeth George, associate professor of history, gave a presentation on the rhetorical background of letter writing.
Senior Hannah Tienvieri, co-leading consultant of the Writing Center, said this scavenger hunt was the first of its kind.
The event was based on a specific narrative — a student was tasked with writing a research paper and participants in the hunt had to find their research notes. Junior Kharis Rutherford, a tutor, said they worked with Ashley Chu, university archivist and librarian, to come up with interesting facts, particularly about buildings at Taylor.
Group and solo teams arrived at Zondervan Library between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to receive their first clue for the mystery hunt. Along with gathering the clues, participants were tasked with filling in blanks within the notes.
Examples of fill-in-the-blank answers were that Ayres was once Taylor’s library and the Dome was once the dining hall.
Tienvieri said she and the other tutors originally thought it would take 30 minutes for students to complete the hunt, but the average time ended up being closer to 15 minutes. Ultimately, the team who reached Zondervan fastest was sophomore Lily Moore and freshmen Jaylynn Dunsmore and Alli Pflugner.
Once each participant returned to the library, Tienvieri and her fellow tutors spoke to them about different services the Writing Center and the library offer. For example, the research assistants were highlighted as resources for finding sources for papers and projects.
Additionally, the interlibrary loan was highlighted as a service where students can gain access to books from various consortia if Zondervan does not have the text.
Taylor students can make online appointments with the Writing Center or physically submit papers for written feedback, a new service that began last school year. Face-to-face support is offered on a limited basis because of COVID-19, but online services enable tutors to assist students over a video call system.
“Students aren’t always aware that the Writing Center exists, and that it’s a service that’s available to them completely for free,” Tienvieri said.
While listening to the tutors, several autumn treats were available for participants, including apples, cookies and Halloween-themed candy. The winning team received extra goodies for their efforts.
Out of the many pieces to the writing process, Tienvieri said she most enjoys brainstorming, asking students questions and prompting them to think through whatever topic they are tackling.
Rutherford said she loves helping fellow Taylor students with outlining and brainstorming.
“A lot of times people think they need to come to the Writing Center just for heavy writing assignments or they need to have some fully fleshed out paper before they come in,” Rutherford said. “Both of those things are untrue … If you come in with a blank slate, we will work with you.”
Rutherford debunked the common notion that the Writing Center only exists for English and literature assignments, referencing her work on chemistry lab reports and math papers.
More than anything, Rutherford said being a writing tutor has taught her patience and how to be empathetic regardless of a student’s endeavor.
“(Being a tutor) has really taught me patience with writing, with life,” Rutherford said. “How to meet people where they are … (The Writing Center) is just a really safe place. I know if I ever need anything, I can go to one of the tutors … It’s just part of what makes Taylor so incredible.”
The Writing Center plans to host this mystery event again in the spring, but with less surrounding competition.
For all student’s information, the Writing Center’s hours are Monday-Thursday 1-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m., Fridays 1-4 p.m. and Sundays 7-9 p.m. To schedule an appointment, visit www.taylor.mywconline.com.