Distinction in Writing: Writing in Off-Campus Communities

The purpose of completing a degree in residence on the GVSU campus is to ensure a coherent experience among the university’s graduates. This component gives you the opportunity to use your writing, reading and design skills beyond the campus setting for the benefit of local or regional residents.

Activities in this component are volunteer activities that serve a community organization of some kind. Each year, the Writing department will publicize a number of volunteer opportunities arranged specifically for students with abilities in writing, reading, or document design. The department will co-sponsor these activities through organizations such as the Heart of West Michigan United Way and the Grand Rapids Public Schools, aiming primarily to serve needy urban populations. Students will be connected to a liaison from the sponsoring organization, and they will be given a specific job or project to work on. The examples below may count as either Level A or Level B activities, dependent on your time/product commitment.

  • Meet weekly after school in a middle school tech lab with the student staff of the monthly school newsletter, tutoring students in both newsletter writing and document design.
  • Conduct resume-writing and business-correspondence tutorials with women preparing for the job market while pursuing their GED high-school equivalency diploma through the Vandenberg Adult Education Center.
  • Respond weekly to the writing of one teacher’s 3rd-8th graders as the students practice for the annual MEAP test in the Language Arts.
  • Develop promotional materials (brochures, posters, web pages) for the Community Media Center’s Future Kulture program supporting youth and media.
  • Conduct weekly tutorials with resettled adult refuges through Catholic Human Development Outreach’s Intensive Vocational English program.
  • Develop promotional materials (brochures, public service announcements, programs, web pages) for the annual Arts Jam fundraising event promoting art and music programs in the public schools.

Because you will be participating as an unofficial representative of GVSU’s Writing department, you should seek approval from your advisor. We do not want to contribute to the already-high rate of turnover among community volunteers, and the best way to do that is to make sure that you are matched with the right program.

Page last modified May 18, 2017