About twenty-five peer writing consultants gathered on Sunday, September 18, to celebrate and reimagine the peer writing center and the work we do here.

The retreat was planned by a committee of peer writing consultants who worked throughout the summer to develop activities that would provide us all with the opportunity to think creatively and collaboratively about the mission of the peer writing center. These dedicated consultants are Emily Gorman, Areeba Haider, Sonalee Joshi, Clint Rooker, Sarah Tsung, Brooke White, and Brie Winnega.

The day opened with an icebreaker to learn about the origins of each others’ names, followed by a team art activity: design the ideal writing center, using repurposed materials. We broke for lunch, then reconvened with another icebreaker, this time an improv game. We followed up on the “ideal writing center” activity by answering the following questions in small groups, then doing a gallery walk of responses:

  • What are your obligations and responsibilities to yourself?
  • What are your obligations and responsibilities to writers who visit the SPWC?
  • What are the values you’d most like to see the SPWC embody?

Following the gallery walk, small groups drafted one-sentence mission statements for the peer writing center, based on what they saw.

We broke for some theater games with Sara Armstrong from CRLT Players, to get our energy up for the rest of the afternoon. Our afternoon drew to a close working in small groups to plan various projects for the year, including another installment in the Sweetland-Skyline collaboration, the all-campus Peer Tutor Summit, social events for consultants, and outreach to the wider campus. Our last activity was to create envelopes for each consultant, to give us a chance to express gratitude to each other.

This day was a great way to start the semester with our colleagues in the writing center and to focus our hearts and minds on becoming the community we want to be.