English Department Retreat Offers Writers Opportunity to Connect

On March 2-3, SUU students participated in the annual overnight English Department Retreat at the SUU Cabin. Organized in tandem with a local chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, the retreat featured creative writing workshops and team activities.

“I organized the first one last year because I thought writers needed a way to connect with each other,” Rebekah Smith, a senior English major from South Jordan and president of Sigma Tau Delta, said. “This way, people have a chance to really get to know each other while they’re doing what they love.”

The theme for this year’s retreat was “Writing About Home.” SUU professors taught three workshops. Sarah Bates, lecturer of English, taught students about using memory in creative nonfiction. Todd Petersen, director of project-based learning and professor of English, used music and writing prompts to teach students to be spontaneous and imaginative in his workshop. Danielle Dubrasky, associate professor of English, ended the retreat with a poetry workshop where students compared their home landscapes to the cabin’s surroundings.

“I think it’s important to get creative writers, not just from the English department but from everywhere,” Alyssa White, a senior English major from Bountiful, said. “We need to create this kind of camaraderie so we can create together and we can learn together. The retreat was good because writing can be a really lonely thing to do, and it’s really important to know the community around you.”

Other writing activities included a character development game played with old shoes, world-building by using acrylic paints to create fictional landscapes and writing 55-word stories.

In addition to the English Department Retreat, Sigma Tau Delta also organizes monthly movie nights and writing activities. More information about Sigma Tau Delta can be found on their Facebook page or by emailing sigmataudeltasuu@gmail.com.

Story by
Megan Fairbanks

Photo by
John Belk