By Staff Writer Eric Sousa.
The UMass Dartmouth Writing & Reading Center (WRC) has moved its location to LARTS 010, and is now housed in the basement. However, the functionality of the Writing Center has not budged in its efficiency or integrity. It can be easily found at the Southwest end of LARTS, down the set of stairs.
The Torch was curious to see what the actual experience at the WRC was like, what services they offer, their strategies to helping students, how they kept up to date with their services, and so on.
Natasha Storm Ledoux, a junior history major and WRC writing tutor, was more than happy to answer our questions. It was clear, from the get-go, that she possessed an innate passion for writing. She stated that this enthusiasm was not uncommon in the WRC; in fact, she attributed their effectiveness partly to that personal appreciation for the process.
The services provided cover a wide array of subjects and writing applications. Ledoux was discussing that she spent the past week helping a few students from the English major develop thesis statements. “We get a full variety of students in here. Some show up with all their research done but need help organizing them. Some show up with absolutely nothing and they need to get started somewhere. No matter what, we’re there to help,” Natasha stated.
However, the true plague to a paper’s enthusiasm isn’t the text–at times, it’s the citations, the WRC finds.
The Writing and Reading Center isn’t only well-prepared to assist with citations, but is citation-savvy enough to reach a point where they enjoy it.
Natasha’s personal favorite is Chicago-style citations. “It’s more aesthetically pleasing,” she claims enthusiastically and proudly showed The Torch some samples.
The sessions at the Writing and Reading Center are normally an hour long. It gives the tutors enough time to get to know the student, how to help them, and the best strategy to get the ball rolling. Further, the tutors attend training sessions every week to further hone their skills.
This includes strategies towards specific subjects, how to gauge a student’s needs, but most importantly, how to make the process seamless and casual. “We’re there to help you write. It is our job to find what works best to tutor a particular student,” she expands on the reasoning behind their constant training.
The biggest draw to the WRC, students find, is the subtle informality of the entire process. When discussing procrastinating assignments, Natasha laughed and said, “It’s not the same pressure as if you’re doing office hours with a professor. We’re not reprimanding you, there’s a mutual respect here.” Students are recommended not waiting until day before assignments, but it is not unheard of.
Their Facebook page is constantly being updated with information, tips, introductions to their skillful staff, and the occasional writing pun. The atmosphere that greets you upon entering shows they aren’t begrudgingly tutoring. There is genuine enjoyment from the staff.
The WRC prides itself on helping students from all walks of campus. All the student needs to do is show up.
If passion drives effectiveness, students would be hard pressed to find a more effective solution to their writing shortfalls than the approachable and accommodating Writing & Reading Center, now housed in LARTS 010.