Writing Center assists students in new, larger space
By Daria Sokolova
Roosevelt University’s Writing Center provides free help to students who seek assistance with midterm papers, essays and other written tasks in a newly opened space located in AUD 442.
“It’s twice as big as the old Writing Center,” said Michael Lewandowski, senior staff tutor who has been working at the Writing Center for over a year. “We have two new rooms, which is the conference room and the Writing Center tutor lounge back there. A lot more rooms call for a lot more activities.”
Previously located in AUD 650, the Writing Center moved to AUD 442 this semester.
Lewandowski provides in-person and online sessions for students. According to him, midterms is one of the most hectic times of the year for the Writing Center.
“Midterms are a really busy time,” he said. “Grammar and punctuation are some of the most common questions students are coming with.”
Louis Canonico, a staff tutor, also noted the volume of students seeking assistance.
“It has been busy the last couple of weeks,” Canonico said. “I was tutoring two to three [students] a day, and I’m here toward the end of the day when it’s slower. During the normal part of day when it’s 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. I think it was a lot busier.”
Canonico said the Writing Center keeps track of all the students they assist.
“There is a little form you fill out,” Canonico said. “It has [students’] name, ID number, what class they are here for. We use that as an introduction and we keep all of those papers as a proof in case their instructor asks [for it].”
The Writing Center works with students of any major and also assists faculty members who seek help with their own writing assignments.
“Teachers themselves actually come in when they are writing papers for their departments, and if they get stuck, we just sit down with them and spitball some ideas,” Lewandowski added.
According to Lewandowski, the students who come to the Writing Center range from English as a second language (ESL), to biology or English students.
“With the ESL students, you have to be really patient,” Lewandowski said. “You have to spend time with each paragraph and maybe teach them a thing or two about punctuation and writing in general because English to them is difficult to comprehend.”
During midterms, the number of students coming to the center increases from about five to 10-15 daily, which makes tutoring sessions shorter.
“A typical session would be about 45 minutes to an hour long. Whereas during midterms, I try to squeeze it into about half an hour,” Lewandowski said. “There was only one instance where I had to take two students. They were doing two totally different things, and I was able to do a group session and help both of them out. One of them was an ESL student, and another was a regular paper for English.”
Lewandowski said part of his job is being “versatile” in dealing with students who come to the Writing Center with biology papers, English papers and even cover letters.
“It’s just trying to get a person on the same page as you because you are reading something they wrote, and they are going to be a little bit biased toward their own writing,” he explained. “What you are trying to do is gain understanding of their paper, but at the same time, you want them to see the paper in a completely new light.”
Canonico said rather than telling students how to write their papers, tutors at the Writing Center guide them through the process of writing and to help them get their own ideas out.
“We are not just here to tell you how to write a good paper, we are here to find out how to write your best paper,” Canonico said. “We don’t want to guide somebody else’s paper a certain way, we just want them to figure out how to do it their best way.”
The Writing Center provides free-of-charge assistance with writing assignments to all Roosevelt students and also offers in-person and online tutoring for Chicago, Schaumburg and online students during days, weekends and evenings.
“We definitely want people to come in [to the Writing Center] because it’s beneficial to get somebody else to look at what you have written,” Canonico said. “You might not realize that you could write better until you talk to somebody else.”
To let students know about its services, the Writing Center organizes occasional contests where students submit writing assignments on different topics.
“RU Writing’s Flash-Fiction Contest” is the Halloween writing contest that requires participants to write a sympathetic monster story no longer than 750 words.
Stories are due Tuesday, Oct. 22.
The winners will be announced Oct. 29 in AUD 442 at 5. p.m.