The Distinction in Writing program is an opportunity for students to be recognized for their extracurricular writing by receiving honors from the Writing department. To complete the program the students must finish four of five categories of projects that showcase their writing in different settings. Each category is comprised of Level A or Level B projects; these projects are chosen by the student to tailor to their career path and require a substantial amount of work and time commitment. Before their graduation date, the student must compile their work and present both writing about their projects and artifacts gathered from the projects into a portfolio to be reviewed by the Writing department.
I began the program in my sophomore year of university, each project lasting from one
to six months. I completed the following categories and projects:
Writing in Off-Campus Communities
Education through storytelling has always been a passion of mine. Some of my favorite games taught me a lot about science, math, and problem solving. Based on the suggested projects, I decided to go back to the high school I graduated from and act as a writing mentor. I coached the Junior class in writing a persuasive essay, as well as provided
information about preparing for the ACT and college. A reporter of the School News Network ended up interviewing me and writing an article on what I was doing. The article can be found here.
Writing Across Cultures
For a writer any new experience is a potential topic to write about. While deciding on the next category of this program, I was 19 and had never lived on my own or traveled far outside of Michigan (at an age I could remember). When I saw studying abroad as an option, I knew that it would be a huge opportunity in a lot of ways. I would get an entirely new experience and learn about new cultures and perspectives, I would fulfill more requirements than just the program, and I would be the first in my family to travel
overseas. As part of the project, I was tasked at keeping a blog about my trip, but I wanted to take it a step further and show my trip in more than words. My mother has a passion for travel, and while her English is great, I knew that writing about the trip just wouldn’t cut it. At the same time I had just began the film major and I knew that this project would best represent me if I kept a video blog. For the month I was in the United Kingdom, I would film as many interesting locations as I could and at the end of a week I would film commentary from my bedroom and edit together a video to upload to YouTube. The playlist for the videos can be found here.
Writing Among Disciplines
Once again while searching for a project to tailor to me, I found a project that would help fulfill several requirements at once. As both a film major and a writing major I either needed an internship, or had the option to have one to fulfill certain credits. The project
suggested an interdisciplinary internship, and so I set about looking for an internship that could fulfill both majors’ requirements and work for the program. I eventually came across the Marketing Intern position at Human Resources, which offered both writing and film work. The majority of the major assignments at this internship included writing newsletters, and creating a variety of videos. I also updated their websites and social media, and helped design fliers and
banners. The websites I helped manage are GVSU’s Health and Wellness and Retiree Connection. One of the three types of newsletters I worked on were posted to the Retiree Connection website, and can be found here. Their YouTube page can be found here.
Writing for Publication or Performance
As my academic career came to an end I realized I needed to start doing things directly related to my career. A smaller project available to complete this category was to maintain a blog, so I decided to start a video game review blog and posted weekly about the games I played. I rated the games based on gameplay, graphics, soundtrack, and story. I began the blog in early January 2017, and continued it until June 2017
The other half of this category involves showcasing two published pieces of work that began in a classroom. The first work is my poem “Thief” that I wrote in my Style and Technique writing class. We had been studying most short form styles of writing and were tasked with writing a prose poem. A year later in my internship class a student discussed their internship at the Women’s Center and how they were in charge of GVSU’s Feminist Blog and were looking for submissions. I revised and submitted my prose
poem “Thief” and it was accepted and published on the Feminist blog.
The second work is a video I created in a group of five in the Producing for Clients class. We worked with the Alzheimer’s Association to create a video as if we were a freelance video company working with a client. We went to their Alzheimer’s walk (an event to raise awareness and money for research) as well as interviewed several advocates, and even got in touch with Senator Stabenow who was kind enough to send us a clip of her to include in the video. The video was later approved and published onto their website as well as their YouTube page.