ENCW 250 students help the literary community

Haley+Beardsley%2C+Print+Managing+Editor+%2F+The+Bucknellian+

Haley Beardsley, Print Managing Editor / The Bucknellian

Kelsey Werkheiser, Special Features Editor

In ENCW 250, students are, as per the course catalog description, “culminating in a group project in which students will identify a local need and design an event to address it.” Professor Scapellato’s class focuses on engaging with Bucknell’s literary community, and the result is three different group projects addressing the community’s needs.

In previous years, this class has been the birthplace of projects that are still in effect, such as a free library on the ground floor of the ELC, and confetti head, a student-run literary magazine that publishes student works. 

One of the concerns the class identified was a lack of awareness of current literary events, even coming from those already involved in the literary community. The solution to this was a “one-stop shop” Instagram that would keep its followers up to date on Bucknell’s literary events, such as poetry readings and speaker events– @bucknellreads. 

The account also looks to maintain interaction with its followers, as seen through a post captioned, “comment your favorite study/reading spot on campus,” and another asking for book recommendations. They are continuously trying to gain a following, and hope that the account can act as an on-going space for students to get updates throughout the school year. 

Another aspect that Bucknell’s campus seemed to be lacking was the encouragement of casual reading outside of an academic setting. This inspired the creation of the Bucknell Book Swap– a club where students would be provided a free book upon joining the club, which they would then swap with other members a month later. 

Realizing that I’m a part of a larger literary community on campus and figuring out how to engage and benefit said community has been both challenging and rewarding,” said Kieran Calderwood ‘24, a member of the Bucknell Book Swap group. “Watching the students in professor Scapellato’s class come together in groups and create clubs designed to help others has been a great experience.”

The club has been working in collaboration with Mondragon Books, a used book store located on Market street in Lewisburg. The group applied for an Arts & Creativity Grant through the university, which would help them finance an initial purchase of books from Mondragon. 

“We were under a time crunch, so we had to find a way to secure the books without funding,” said Chris Kaplan ‘23, another founder of the club. “Sarajane, the owner of Mondragon Books, came to our rescue. She provided us with 25 books for free to help kick-start the club, and even helped us pick books that she thought students  would enjoy reading. Without her, this project/club would have never succeeded. Luckily, we eventually received our grant, and we look forward to paying her back for her generosity.”

The club was able to gain some members through the Creative Writing Club mixer that was held on Nov. 8, where attendees were able to sign up and take a book with them. 

“The most enjoyable part has been meeting students who love reading,” said Kaplan. “I get to share my passion with everyone. I, in turn, have also received countless book recommendations, which I always appreciate.”

“I hope the club grows in size and I get to share my passion with everyone,” said Kaplan. “Admittedly, I am a senior with one semester left, so I will not get to see the true scope of my work. The club, however, is in good hands with my group members, Kieran Calderwood and Georgie Roache. I know they have big plans going forward.”

The third group’s project looked to address a need that applies to Bucknell’s entire creative community: the lack of a space for feedback on creative works outside of an academic context. Creative writing classes often involve workshopping, and visual arts classes have critiques, but not all of campus’s creators have access to these resources, especially if their creative medium is not part of their academic focus.

This inspired the Bucknell Creative Critique, an online forum where students can post creative works in order to receive feedback. The website looks to promote a “give-and-take” system, where students are expected to provide feedback to other works before their work will be posted to the website. 

This process so far has been immensely rewarding,” said Maggie Hunter ‘24, a member of the group project. “ I was drawn to this project because, as a writer, I know how essential feedback is and how hard it can be to find.  I wanted to help create a space where not just writers but artists of all kinds could submit their work and receive constructive criticism.”

“I think this is also an incredible opportunity because it expands Bucknell’s artistic circles, allowing students across multiple mediums to see other students’ work, creating a stronger sense of community,” said Hunter.  “It can be tough to find other creatives, so I believe this will be a great way to find other artists to support and possibly collaborate with.”

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