English Department hosts 1st annual writing crawl

May 3, 2011

The English Department hosted its 1st annual writing crawl to Springdale Cemetery on April 29. The field trip promoted free writing outside of the classroom at an inspiring location and was open to all students, faculty, and staff.

“The purpose was to get students, or even faculty members, out of the classroom environment for writing,” said Michelle Cusack, a faculty member in the Department of English and co-organizer of the event. “A writing crawl is basically a field trip to an inspiring location to trigger creative writing.”

Amy Eggert, also an organizer and English department faculty member, said she hoped participants appreciated the opportunity to write without the pressure of being graded.

“We just want to encourage people to write creatively,” Eggert said. “We want to show them that writing does not always have to be an academic or intimidating task and that you can use your surroundings as inspiration.”

The Springdale Cemetery fit the bill of an inspiring location. Several prominent Peoria residents, such as the University’s founder, Lydia Moss Bradley, rest at the cemetery.

Student Jasmine Hawkins, a freshman communication major, was excited about the cemetery experience.

“This is my first experience with a writing crawl,” Hawkins said. “I didn’t really know what to expect but I think it’s really beneficial to be here seeing where very important individuals, such as Lydia Moss Bradley, are buried. It is very important and significant.”

Markita Mullen, a freshman nursing major, shared her views on the value of the writing crawl experience.

“I think the value is to inform people of the important people that are here,” Mullen said. “Peoria is a renowned city and the people who have passed on have legacies, so I think it is important for the people here today to understand those legacies.”

With final exams just around the corner, the writing crawl was scheduled during a particularly hectic time in the semester. During high-stress periods, Eggert said writing is therapeutic.

“I know students are stressed out with finals right now, so they can use this time to vent some of that pressure,” Eggert said.

Both Cusack and Eggert were happy with the turnout and plan to organize another writing crawl for next year.