Beginning in the fall of 2014, Writing House will be relocated from 202 Washington St. to 156 High St., which currently functions as a residence hall for upperclassmen. The program house will be combined with Writing Hall, currently located on the fourth floor of Clark Hall, to form a residential writing hub open to all years.
Writing House is a program house available to students interested in any form of writing. This residential living-learning environment offers workshops and performances and promotes writing on campus. Writing Hall operates under a similar premise but is open only to freshmen. Neither Director of Residential Life Frances Koerting nor Vice President for Student Affairs Michael Whaley was able to comment on what will happen to the space on the first floor of 202 Washington St., which is also home to Full House.
Koerting explained the reason behind the change.
“The change was initiated to give our writing-based programs, Writing Hall and Writing House, more prominence,” Koerting said.
Whaley explained that when Writing House was first established on Washington Street, Kim-Frank Family University Writer in Residence Amy Bloom was not at the University. Bloom’s office is located in the Shapiro Writing Center at 167 High St. This location inspired the decision to move the house across the street from the center.
“The idea was hatched about trying to move the residential component that has to do with writing in close proximity to the Shapiro Center,” Whaley said. “We talked about it with both [Director of Writing Programs] Anne Greene and Amy Bloom, and both were supportive of the idea of having a residential facility having to do with writing very close to their office space so that students can access their space really easily. It seemed to really line up well…. We think that there will be a strong program in that location.”
Whaley is hopeful that the move will increase interaction between students and faculty involved in writing.
“The only thing that we are trying to accomplish now is to foster closer connections between faculty that are working in this area and students that are interested in creative writing,” Whaley said. “I am really excited about the possibility of more faculty interaction, and I hope that synergy will enrich the writing experience for students living in those areas.”
Several current residents of Writing House look forward to the change.
“I looked at it in a positive light,” said Writing House Manager Chukwuemeka Uwakaneme ’16. “Writing House is really far from campus, so if all your classes are not in that area, the location really is not that great.”
Uwakaneme added that, as a biology major, his classes are mainly located in the Exley Science Center, so he frequently travels a far distance from Writing House to get to class.
“This new location is great for people who want to write, but are not necessarily in that major,” Uwakaneme said.
Rebecca Brill ’16, another resident of Writing House, agreed with Uwakaneme, adding that the current location is a significant disadvantage.
“It is a pretty house and a really nice place to live,” Brill said. “[But having the location changed] will draw more people in, possibly a different sort of person than typically goes to Writing House. It might draw in people that want to be immersed in the writing community.”
However, some students currently living in Writing House are not enthused about the impending move.
“I find this problematic,” said Jack Spira ’16. “Initially, it will seem like we are being collected into a better hub of writing, but rather we are being separated from the rest of the school in such a manner that will hurt writing. Writers don’t need other writers around them, they need other people.”
Spira added that living at 202 Washington St., which is surrounded by other program houses, is beneficial because he has been able to make friends with differing interests.
“It was great for hanging out with [students from other program houses] because we learn from different ideas,” Spira said.