The Writing Center’s new program, “Recover Writing,” that was launched November 4, helps students affected by Hurricane Sandy with academic papers to support them in finishing the semester despite the hard times.
“I don’t know how to rebuild a house and I’m not able to fix their electricity, so I decided to use my academic knowledge to help,” said Ed Niemczura, adjunct professor of English, who also works at the Writing Center.
“Recover Writing” is a program designed to help students, who were affected by the hurricane, with their writing based homework for classes, no matter the subject. Because LIU Post’s Writing Center has limited space for appointments due to all the days missed from the natural disaster “Recover Writing” is a way to accommodate students. The program allows students, who are unable to get an appointment with a tutor from Post’s Writing Center, to have the opportunity to receive writing help from writing centers at other participating colleges from around the country as well. The tutors from both Post’s Writing Center and writing centers from other colleges work with students on grammar, structure, organization and other parts of formulating an academic paper.
“The Center reopened to LIU Post students on Monday, November 12, [after being closed for 11 days, including weekends] but is experiencing very heavy volume. However, thanks to the efforts of Belinda Kremer, Director of the Writing Center at Post, writing centers at other colleges and universities around the country have agreed to help LIU Post students with their academic papers,” said Dr. Paul Forestell, LIU Post provost.
The Writing Center at Post can help up to 40 students a day; however, after the hurricane the volume of students who were seeking help with their writing assignments exceeded that limit. If a student wants to make an appointment, and there are no appointments available, the student is given the option to use one of the 30 participating college’s Writing Center. The student has a choice to go on the campus and meet with Writing Center’s tutors face-to-face, or have the session via email or Skype. Select colleges offer phone services for students to ask quick questions without waiting for an appointment.
The participating colleges allow students to go on their campuses, although many don’t normally grant access to other students who do not pay tuition, according to Niemczura. He added that similar services could cost between $75 and $100 a session, but “Recover Writing” is free.
Niemczura and Kremer worked together to come up with the idea for “Recover Writing.” Kremer declined to comment on the program because all of the previous publicity has focused on mostly her, although they are a team. Kremer came up with the idea for the program and contacted the other colleges across the country to ask for their participation in the program. Niemczura created their Facebook page, answers the emails from students and touches base with the other colleges involved.
Post’s Writing Center has tutors that are mostly graduate students with diverse degrees. All tutors go through training that takes the duration of a semester.
“The schedule filled up after Sandy; there are a lot of back to back appointments now,” Christopher Leach, health care administration graduate student who works as a tutor in the Writing Center, said. He has directed students to other colleges participating in the “Recover Writing” program and has also been the tutor for affected students. Leach has tutored in a Skype session and said that they use a share screen to open the paper they are working on so that it is visible on both screens, which helps make the virtual option effective.
“The students I’ve told about it [Recover Writing] are not only excited about it, they are spreading the word: networking it, liking it and sharing it with their friends. Sharing the page is a good option if you are unable to donate clothes or food,” Niemczura said. The page currently has over 200 likes.
On the Facebook page, the participating colleges are able to connect with college students who were affected by the disaster. The Facebook page, created November 4, has an individual post for every participating school that states what is offered and how to contact the school. The student can go through the page and find the tutoring that best suits their personal needs. Students can go directly to this page; they do not need to go through Post to be able to take advantage of this service. A few schools even offer help for affected high school students.
“It’s very accessible,” Nicole Cosentino, English graduate student who works in the Writing Center, said. “We made a conscious decision to create it on a Facebook purchased page. It takes a long time to create a webpage. Facebook was quick and students already know Facebook, so we put the time into the Facebook page instead of waiting 3 weeks before we can offer the help,” Niemczura said.
If a Post student wanted to get involved with helping this program, the best way to do so is by liking and sharing the page. A student who is not already a tutor at the writing center cannot help by coming in to tutor because the new tutors would need to go through a semester-long training. However, he said by liking the page and sharing it to make the program known to those who need the help is an amazing thing in itself. To find the page, search the words “Recover Writing” in the search bar. You do not need to be a member to view the page.
The program will last as long as there is a need for it, according to Niemczura. He said that students will still feel stress from the storm through finals and possibly through the beginning of the spring semester. Niemczura adds, “The point is to not turn anyone away. The point is to get them the help they need.”
The Writing Center is located in Humanities 202. It is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Writing Center can also be contacted at 516-299-2732.