Meeting Writers Where They Are At
By: Claire Donohoe
October 25th, 2023
The Writing Center is a place where students can come together over ideas, not just writing. The six satellite locations across campus offer consultation and community, free of charge for all students. The WC practices meeting writers where they’re at. It’s more than just a tutoring center; it’s a place for development and community.
Graduate assistant director Bethany Meadows describes the MSU Writing Center as a “conglomerate of multiple locations [that] work alongside the community in various partnerships across campus, surrounding community and the globe.” Simply put, it’s a space where “folks can work together.”
Meadows said what makes the MSU WC unique is that the space is centered in “omnidirectional learning from each and other collaborative moments.” Meadows, who has worked as a consultant herself, says the WC bridges the gap between community and education by exploring the needs of both the consultant and the client.
According to her, it’s “not just going in [to consulting] for ourselves, but thinking through where we can be in partnership with both groups’ needs” and “educating ourselves to be better in that learning and unlearning.”
The six on-campus satellite locations—McDondel, Brody, Holden, Hubbard, the MSU library and the main hub in Bessey hall—also work to strengthen community partnership efforts in the greater Lansing area, with a partnership at the East Lansing Public Library and global partnerships with other university writing centers.
Students can book appointments in person, over Zoom, via Google Docs or asynchronously. Meadows also noted that “anything [students] can think of that [they’re] trying to communicate effectively with someone else can be brought in for collaboration.” Consultants have seen personal essays, cover letters, art projects, resumes, creative pieces and more.
Over 30 years old, The MSU Writing Center is staffed with consultants of varying degrees, programs and academic years at MSU. As one of the instructors for WRA 395 at Michigan State—the prerequisite class for becoming a consultant—Meadows says the curriculum of the class helps tie everything and everyone together, with “interdisciplinary perspectives in relation to writing” being brought into the class. “Everyone brings their own life experiences.”
Meadows also expressed that she hopes more students know that just because things are “getting A’s” doesn’t mean you can’t bring them into a consulting space. These spaces are designed to discuss your work, find friends, and engage in community collaboration.
Claire Donohoe is a junior majoring in English and Professional and Public Writing with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, hoping to either work in editing and publication or teach in her future. In her free time, she enjoys watching terrible reality TV, collecting funky jewelry and writing! You can find her creative work on Instagram @cwroteit.