Giving “Write” Now: The Power of Mentorship within the Writing Colleagues Program

By Katelyn Oswalt ’24

Staff Writer

Inspired by the Athletic Day of Donors, the Writing Colleagues Program is beginning a fundraising campaign entitled “Give Write Now!”, which will help to continue to fund equity planning, as well as other day to day functions of the program. The fundraiser is functioning as part of a pilot for an eventual, wider Academic Day of Donors.  

When asked to describe the modality of the fundraiser, Co-Director of the Writing Colleagues Program Amy Howard Green replied, “It will primarily be a social media blitz… people can donate as little as five dollars, or as much as they want, and every donation will count towards the matching based on number of donors that Suzanne Rutstein ’95 P’23 and Charles Rutstein ’94 P’23, whose generosity established The Rutstein Fund in Support of Writing Excellence in 2021, will do.”  

The Writing Colleague Program on campus is designed for students who enjoy writing and want to aid their peers in the writing process. Writing colleagues act in a facilitative role and are a bridge between the faculty and the student. Students apply to the Writing Colleague program and go through an application and interview process before they are selected. Once selected, they take the Writing Colleagues’ Seminar course, where they strengthen their own writing, as well as learn techniques for aiding their peers.  

Following the seminar, Writing Colleagues may serve in various classes across campus, including First Year Seminars, to help students meet their writing goals. The program is co-directed by Amy Howard Green, in addition to Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Hannah Dickinson and Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Ben Ristow. 

Co-Director of Writing Colleagues Program Amy Howard Green has been on campus since 2013 and has been one of the greatest mentors on campus to Writing Colleagues and Writing and Rhetoric students. She received her PhD from West Virginia University and moved back to the Finger Lakes region afterwards to begin her position at HWS. In addition to serving as the Co-Director of the Writing Colleagues Program, she teaches classes such as “Writer’s Seminar” and “Literate Lives: Rhetorics of Marginalized Education,” and is looking forward to teaching a First Year Seminar this upcoming Fall. Recently, Professor Green was honored with the Laurel Society Excellence in Mentorship Award, which is given “In recognition of the powerful educational influence and outstanding mentorship in the life of William Smith students.” 

The Writing Colleagues Program has been a fixture of the curriculum at the Colleges, even during COVID times. Especially during the Spring of 2020 and the 2020-2021 academic year, Writing Colleagues had to adjust to having their meetings across different modalities and increase their flexibility with students and faculty. While we are not completely back to “normal” yet, the 2021-2022 academic year has allowed for greater shifts back to the in-person, collaborative nature of the Writing Colleagues Program. 

When asked about what she enjoyed most about “getting back to normal”, Professor Green replied that she enjoyed, “being able to have meetings where we can see each other’s faces again. Communication and collaboration are the heart of the Writing Colleagues Program and my own personal pedagogy.” Students in Writing Colleague placements meet bi-weekly with Professor Green, where they discuss successes and challenges within their placement, as well as gain helpful insights into how they can improve as a Writing Colleague. 

A highlight of the Writing Colleagues Program is its emphasis on Belonging, Diversity, and Equity. “As a program, we have been concerned about issues of equity and inclusion and this year… we have been able to be more formalized and in depth with our equity planning,” Professor Green told the Herald. The Program has begun to have a theme each semester. The Fall of 2021 focused on anti-racism, while the Spring of 2022 has focused on disability justice. Through this emphasis, the Writing Colleagues Program hopes to develop a sense of belonging in the writing process. The “Give Write Now!” campaign will help continue to fund these efforts by the Writing Colleagues Program. 

The campaign will take place from April 19–21. Students and members of the HWS community looking to donate should be on the lookout for social media posts announcing when and how you can contribute on the Give Campus Page. For students interested in being a part of the Writing Colleagues Program, be on the lookout for applications to reopen in Fall of 2022. 

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