Did you know that York University is home to 300+ official student clubs and organizations? With so many different options, it can be difficult to choose an extracurricular activity to join. There are clubs for just about any interest, ranging from sports, arts, hobbies, activism, religion and even academia! To help students find their best fit, the #YUBlog is continuing our Club Spotlight series to give recognition to clubs that people may not be aware of. Today, we shine the Club Spotlight on the Professional Writing Students’ Association (PWSA), a student-run organization which focuses on professional and creative writing here at York U. Keep reading to learn more about the PWSA and for an exclusive interview from the 2018 President Jacqueline Swan!
Introducing the Professional Writing Students’ Association
The Professional Writing Students’ Association, founded in the 2017-2018 academic year, is the student group for the Professional Writing program at York U. This association, though not exclusive to Professional Writing students, was created to offer writing opportunities to the students in the program while giving them a chance to network with their peers. All York U students who are interested in writing are welcome and encouraged to join this community based around the love of writing.
The Professional Writing Students’ Association’s first major event, the OutLines Symposium which will showcase pieces of writing from York University students has been postponed. However, if you’re interested in going, stay up-to-date with their website which will contain all event details, and will contain the rescheduled event date when applicable.
An Exclusive from the Professional Writing Students’ Association (PWSA) President: Jacqueline Swan
The #YUBlog spoke to PWSA President Jacqueline Swan to learn more about the organization and what it has to offer York U students.
Why is the Professional Writing Students’ Association so important?
JS: Professional Writing is a small program, yet it is difficult to meet anyone outside of your year of study. Writing is a field that relies on who you know, so building these connections with your peers now could lead to potential opportunities down the road. Also, the professors are some of the nicest people you will ever meet with great advice to give, so we also want to help the students get to know them. Really, we want to create a culture for the program that extends beyond just going to the classes associated with your degree.
Additionally, for a writing program, we found there were not a lot of opportunities for the students in the program to build a portfolio outside of their classroom assignments. We wanted to start creating opportunities for students to gain some experience working on projects outside of the classroom while still engaging with the culture of the school and the program.
Success tip: Apply to work with the #YUBlog and spend the summer developing your skills as a professional writer! Apply for the Communications Assistant & Blogger positions posted on the Career Centre website. Read our blog post “Apply to Join the #YUBlog This Summer!” to learn more about the positions.
Tell me about the Symposium event you will be hosting.
JS: The Symposium, OutLines, is a celebration of writing at York U. With such a varied student body, we wanted to know how York U students view writing. What are their processes? How has language affected their lives? How do they use writing to express who they are? We wanted the students to give their input regarding writing in a professional environment.
Why a symposium? Why should students attend?
JS: A symposium is a great way for students to contribute their thoughts to a field of study. They research topics that they’re interested in and passionate about, and then present their papers to a room of like-minded individuals. Undergrads don’t have a lot of opportunities to do this – especially in a field like writing – so we felt like this was the best way to showcase their voices. The concept was actually inspired by Dunja Baus, a professor with the Professional Writing program. The Writing Department and the PWSA saw it as a fantastic opportunity to hear up-and-coming voices in the field.
If you have an interest in writing you should definitely attend – even if only for one or two of the panels. We have topics that include the current state of journalism, taking back language and the impact of swearing in different languages. The papers being presented are also not overly academic pieces: they are written by some talented and passionate students who want to add their voices to the field of writing.
What can people expect from this club in the future?
JS: We have started a few projects that we hope will be carried on into the future. The main ones being the symposium and the webzine we started this year called Inventio. The webzine welcomes nonfiction, fiction and poetry that have a focus on writing and language. The editors put a lot of time into creating Inventio, so we hope to see it grow over the years to come.
We also started plans for a networking event for alumni and professionals in the field so that Professional Writing students can learn about career options they have after they graduate, and we are also working on a Meet the Faculty night. This event would give students the opportunity to meet the close-knit Professional Writing Faculty. This event will give students a chance to talk to their instructors outside of a classroom context.
I would also like to see the Peer Review sessions become a little more popular in the future: they’re a great way to develop your writing and brainstorm ideas. This event will bring students together to share their work. These sessions will consist of Professional Writing students acting as a guide to help others with their assignments and other writing projects. This is perfect for students who are hesitant to bring their work to a professor or to the Writing Centre, although we always suggest that students do that, too!
I hope that the future students who take over the club can really focus on bringing the program together and creating an environment that welcomes writers from around the York U community.
Want to Get Involved?
There are a few different ways to get involved with the Professional Writing Students’ Association. You can sign up to be a general member of the association, you can submit pieces to the webzine Inventio or you could submit pieces to next years’ symposium event.
If you want to become more active with the PWSA, you can always run for a spot on the Executive Council and help create and continue projects. Elections for new Executive Council positions for the 2018-2019 school year will be opening soon. In order to apply for these positions, you will need to contact the current Executive Council by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for available positions.
The Professional Writing Students’ Association is in its first year and has only just begun the impact they plan to create. Join the PWSA today and become a part of writing history at York University!
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