After a summer of renovations, The Shapiro Center For Writing has reopened at its new home, 116 Mt. Vernon Street. President Michael Roth announced this reopening in a campus-wide email on Aug. 29th.
The new center is housed in an American colonial style red brick house, across the street from the Hewitt Hall dormitory. The building has three floors, with the second and third floors set aside for faculty offices. The first floor contains a few more offices, a kitchen, a classroom for writing certificate courses, and a large conference room stocked with a TV screen and framed sketches of famous writers, such as William Butler Yeats and Edith Wharton. There is also a second staircase that leads to a small study space for students.
“I’m particularly excited about changes to the Shapiro Writing Center…that reflect the importance we place on writing here,” Roth wrote in the email.
Roth also noted the move was part of the administration’s efforts to build a resource center for marginalized students.
“Promoting equity and inclusion on our campus remains a primary focus,” Roth wrote. “Thanks in large part to input from students, faculty, and students, our new Resource Center will open September 11 at 167 High Street, the former home of the Shapiro Writing Center. We’re pleased to welcome Demetrius J. Colvin as the director, and invite everyone to visit the resource center. An open house will be held in the fall.”
Amy Bloom, Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing and Professor of the Practice, Creative Writing, briefly discussed the new space in a phone interview with The Argus.
“I think it’s a great renovation of a building, it’s a lot of space for faculty [from a variety of departments],” Bloom said. “It’s a great space for students to meet and work on projects…We have a lot of copiers and you have access to faculty across disciplinary and departmental lines.”
Bloom also noted that the Shapiro Center will be open more generally to students as a place to hang out.
“I think it’s gonna be a comfortable…place for readers and writers of all types,” Bloom said.
Sean McCann, Professor of English and Director of Academic Writing, had similarly positive things to say about the new space.
“I think the new building is a beautiful renovation of a stately older building,” McCann said. “I think it will provide a warm and welcoming space where students can come together to work on both their creative writing and their academic interests. It will be a lovely venue for the many exciting events and activities—including readings, master classes, workshops, and writing groups—that Professors Bloom and [Tiphanie] Yanique, along with myself, have planned.”
The new writing center, much like the old one, will house visiting writers, the Writing Workshop’s office, and other writing related activities at the University.
Visiting writers, who generally teach writing courses for a semester or two, will have their offices housed in the Shapiro Center. This year’s visiting writers include Douglas A. Martin, who wrote “Outline of My Lover,” and Amity Gaige, author of “O My Darling.”
The Shapiro Writing Center is now open to students and faculty seven days a week.