Imagine trying to compose a 50,000-word novel on deadline. Pecking away on a keyboard for hours on end, while competing with 17 other students in a cramped classroom for power outlets and a few comfortable chairs. Obviously not the ideal conditions for concentration and creativity.
However, for every trial is a resolution. Providing an educational sanctuary for aspiring writers has motivated University of Wisconsin-Green Bay English Prof. Rebecca Meacham to improve the badly outdated Theatre Hall 378 classroom (referred to above). Meacham and a number of her students, have been working tirelessly this summer to organize an effort to revamp their classroom.
“As a student, I enjoyed classes in traditional, stately seminar rooms, centered around mahogany seminar tables, surrounded by bookshelves filled with the works I admired,” said Meacham, a published author. “Because these spaces were lovely, cared for, and steeped in importance, they made us, as emerging writers, feel that what we were doing was important — that we were having valuable conversations about art, audience, craft and aesthetics. A room remodel does more than add comfort; the right setting enhances a student’s sense of community, self-worth, engagement and culture.”
Undeterred by the fact that her budget couldn’t support a remodel, she approached the Office of Advancement and the Dean of the Colleges of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanistic Studies, who helped to create a fundraising plan. An initial effort raised $3,000 for some of the necessities of the classroom, including a seminar-style table with outlets for laptops. Thrilled by the generosity from campus and community, the organizers are halfway to their $6,000 goal.
But they have an urgent need: chairs. Classes begin in two weeks, and students will be sitting in decades-old, hard metal chairs.
To that end they are now asking friends and donors to simply consider “giving a kid a chair.” They have now incentivized donations to include “named chairs” for those who donate $500.
Secure giving to this project is available through the UW-Green Bay Foundation. There is more about the campaign on a “revise the room” facebook page including the number of students who will continue to have “sore butts” if not enough funds are raised in the effort.
Meacham and company are searching for those who are passionate about maximizing the potential of future writers at UW‑Green Bay. They are looking for those who want to provide an educational sanctuary.
— Feature written by UWGB Communication Intern Kelsie Vieaux. Photos submitted.