Screen Shot 2015-10-16 at 9.55.19 AMElon is gearing up to celebrate the seventh annual National Day on Writing (NDoW) this Tuesday, October 20. During the NDoW, educators and students across the United States connect to share their beliefs about, motivations for, and general thoughts/feelings on writing.

This is Elon’s second year participating in the event, and throughout the day there will be activities all across campus sponsored by the Center for Writing Excellence (which is made up of the Writing Center and the Writing Excellence Initiative) centering on this year’s theme: #WhyIWrite.

Why celebrate writing?

Other than enjoying the free popcorn, coffee, and candy that the Center for Writing Excellence will be giving out across campus, we should celebrate NDoW because writing is an integral part of each of our lives. According to the National Council of Teachers of English, everyone in every line of work or study writes more now than they ever have before—both professionally and personally.

This isn’t surprising, considering that “writing” doesn’t just refer to the old-school pen-and-paper method, anymore. Writing includes—among other things—texting, emailing, scripting, blogging, commenting, tagging, and yes, even tweeting (all those 140-character snippets add up). NDoW is about celebrating the amazing variety of writing we do every day and encouraging people to enjoy their writing and to learn from the writing of others.

Crossover with tech

Writing and technology go hand in hand. Just as writing often serves as the channel of communication that fosters technological development, new technologies help expand the range of media that writers (read: everyone) can use to communicate and increases the number of audience members writers can reach. Plus, tech makes composing and sharing written pieces much faster and easier. That being said, quite a few of the NDoW activities that the Center for Writing Excellence has planned for October 20 are tech-based.

Social media abound

Social

Pic of sidewalk chalk activity from last year’s NDoW

Writing is, by its very nature, a social activity, and social media interaction is an extremely prevalent form of writing in this digital age. So it’s fitting that NDoW participants from around the country will be joining the conversation via social media with the hashtag #WhyIWrite.

At activity stations across Elon’s campus, Center for Writing Excellence representatives will be giving out #WhyIWrite stickers and, at the Koury Business Center station, encouraging students to respond to #WhyIWrite on Twitter with the hashtag #ElonWrites.

Students who attend any of the NDoW functions can take pictures and post them to the Writing Center social media pages for a chance to win prizes. There’s also going to be an Instagram booth at the Belk Library entrance where students can fill out #WhyIWrite stickers and snap selfies with their stickers.

People who follow all three of the social media accounts—Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—can snag a free T-shirt, courtesy of the Center for Writing Excellence.

Marshmallows in the Maker Hub

Mark S

Source: Mark S

Last year, Teaching and Learning Technologies joined in the NDoW festivities by busting out the 3D printer and engaging students in the debate—is 3D printing a form of writing? This year, the Center for Writing Excellence is partnering with the Maker Hub to offer students a more hands-on analog to the writing process. Behold: the Marshmallow Challenge.

Here’s the deal. In 18 minutes, teams of 2-5 students must build the tallest free-standing structure possible out of uncooked spaghetti noodles, tape, string, and a marshmallow. It’s a project that highlights the value of prototypes, revising designs, working with teammates to find solutions, and questioning assumptions—all key aspects of the writing process. Plus, the team with the tallest structure will win a 3D printed sculpture of their team, which is pretty cool.

So come out on Tuesday, October 20 and help Elon celebrate NDoW. Happy writing!

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Maria Temming

Maria Temming

Maria Temming is a senior physics and english major. She enjoys both creative writing and science/tech journalism. Most of her writing is fueled by too much caffeine (thank you, Oak House) and classic rock music.

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