Festival features work from first-year students who will display posters, exhibits, brochures, multimedia presentations and performances

Cookeville – Tennessee Tech University students will be demonstrating how they can think outside the traditional essay from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the 20th annual Festival of Student Writing in the Roaden University Center’s Multipurpose Room on the second floor.

“The primary goal of this annual event is to celebrate and showcase students’ writing and research projects from their fall English Composition courses,” said Tony Baker, director of composition at Tech and founder of the festival. “I’m always excited and surprised to see what students and their instructors have been working on.”

The festival features work from first-year students who will display posters, exhibits, brochures, multimedia presentations and performances on a wide range of subjects. In the 20 years since he got the idea of the festival from a conference, Baker has seen creative projects ranging from board games and 3-D posters to argument boxes and simulated protests.

“One student’s research project was on childhood obesity, so she made an argument box in the shape of a large red Happy Meal box, with statistics and facts about her topic pasted on the outside. To read her project, people had to pick it up, turn it around and interact with it,” he recalls. “Another student brought in a large refrigerator box with a cut-out door. His project was posted inside the box, so to read his project, people had to step inside this closet-like box, switch on a little light and read his walls. I love it when students think outside (or inside) the box to reimagine their project for this live festival audience.”

Though Baker does not yet know what this year’s participants have in store for the festival, he says he is looking forward to seeing how this unusual format gets them to look at their writing and research in a new way.

“Students are used to writing for their teachers. The festival adds a live audience to the mix, and that live audience isn’t grading them. Instead, they’re talking with this audience about their projects, their ideas, their choices. I’m convinced that this live audience helps students invest and engage more in their own writing and their own learning,” he said. he recalls.

The Festival of Student Writing is a free event open to the public. During the event will also be a Golden Eagle Challenge, a scavenger hunt throughout the festival with prizes for those who complete the hunt quickly. For more information, contact Tony Baker at 931-372-6314 or abaker@tntech.edu.

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