"blah center"

This e-mail message, copied from the wcenter archives, was posted by Maura J. Taaffe on October 13, 1998.

In the writing center at Wright State they worked on de-blahing the walls in a couple of interesting ways. One was by opening the project up to tutors, who voted on doing a mural with fish, underwater plants, etc. painted on one wall; because the director insisted on a link to writing, a mermaid and merman (?) appeared along one side, one holding a piece of paper and the other a long plume. Actually, it turned out to be a great conversation starter and since paints and brushes were left in an available place, tutors whose clients did show up would grab a brush and add more to the painting--took a long time to finish.

The other idea was that the director bought fancy, handmade paper of all different colors and went to several international student gatherings and official meetings to ask for their help. She opened the center for one week in the evenings, provided pizza and supplies so that groups of students from other countries each made posters in their own languages that had writing (a few added sketches to hint at what country the writing came from) that meant something to them. They had lullabies from Thailand, literature quotes from Russia, recepies from Norway, etc. The idea was to add a multicultural dimension and to help international students feel more at home. They were very pretty, too--some done with gold pens, etc. WHen students coming into the center saw posters from their country with meaningful messages IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE, they would just light up! (below each one a very small white card had the international students' reasons for choosing to write what they wrote, rather than a word-for-wrd translation.) It also introduces US students to seeing what CHinese or Hebrew or Russian looked like.

Maura J. Taaffe
Department of Humanities
Walker Arts and Sciences
1400 Townsend Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
(906)487-3274 - office


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