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First-Year Writing Program Asks What’s Your Peaceful Revolution?

Leading up to this year’s annual Showcase on April 27, the First-Year Writing Program (FYWP) is asking students and other Emersonians to grab a peace sign in the Iwasaki Library CoLab and festoon them with ways they’ve worked to effect change lately.

The initiative goes along with this year’s Showcase theme, “Writing as Revolution,” which grew out of the current political climate, said Lindsay Haber, an affiliated faculty member in the FYWP who serves on the Showcase committee.

“We were just talking about ways to kind of counter the negative political air that seems to be plaguing everyone now,” Haber said of the committee’s discussions.

Normally, the Showcase is a one-day event that kind of works similarly to a science fair, said Michael Schrimper, an affiliated faculty member who teaches Research Writing. “It’s a chance for all of the different writing classes to come together and see what the others have been doing and learning,” he said.

This year, the committee wanted to take the Showcase theme “a step further” by making it a little more long-term and interactive with others at Emerson, Haber said.

To prime the pump a bit, FYWP members have decorated their own peace signs (the V finger version, not the circle with the bird foot inside) and stuck them on the CoLab’s walls. The actions described on the paper hands are both overt (attending the Women’s March) and subtle (moving money to a credit union). Participants are also encouraged to get creative with their manifestos, giving them symbolic manicures or covering them with quotes.

Haber said the FYWP class she teaches, Writing Toward Change, is a natural for this theme, but she’s interested in how some of the other less activist-related classes approach the idea of revolution.

“We have a wide spectrum of themes and initiatives, and I’m really interested in the less obvious ways that writing can enact change,” she said. For instance, she said, how does reviewing an album and drawing attention to an artist’s work lead to change?

At the Showcase, Haber said the plan for the peace signs is to Tweet out the acts of peaceful revolution and to archive them on the FYWP webpage.

There’s also a hope for the students.

“[That] if they think about something and write it down, it will resonate with them how much power they have,” Haber said.


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