Rhetoric center offers help to students

Photo courtesy calvin.edu.

Photo courtesy calvin.edu.

The first week of my job this year involved sitting in a swivel chair staring at a computer screen, desperately hoping for an email or Facebook update. No papers had yet been assigned. The second week was swamped with freshmen coming in for prelude autobiographies. While I quite enjoy reading personal stories and learning about the new crop of Calvin’s freshmen, the Rhetoric Center (RC) does more than just read prelude papers. Located in Hekman Library 207, just across from the computers, the RC is composed of a team of twelve student consultants, sophomores to seniors, led by English professor Karen Saupe.

We usually have two people working at a time, waiting to pounce on innocent students who desperately need help with writing. Actually, that’s not it at all. A common myth about the RC is that only really bad writers come in for help, when, in fact, we get all kinds of students coming in for appointments. Also often misunderstood is that you can drop off your paper for editing. The RC does not, unfortunately, simply do the work for you. We love having engaged clients and challenging sessions. We will gladly work with you on any part of the writing process: from talking about ideas before writing has even begun, to making sure your thesis statement coincides with what you’re saying in the body of your paper. Our goal is to help you walk your way through a paper, from a prompt to a beautiful, and ready-to-turn-in, finished product.

The staff has recently started working to spread writing knowledge beyond the hallowed RC doors, in the way of workshops that will address common questions students have about writing and panels featuring specific departments. Struggling with a religion paper, or wondering how you’ll ever get that philosophy paper written? These are the two departments that will be tackled this fall. Stay tuned for announcements about these panels, and watch out for news about our workshops.

Don’t let the quirky Lego figures dissuade you from coming in and making an appointment. We encourage you to come in early so you’ll have plenty of time to come back with corrections until you’ve tailored your paper to just what you want.