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Encouraging Undergraduate Writing 

Panelists discuss writing, publishing, and editing as student authors. (Photos by Naomi McPeters) 

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 4, 2016) – The Department of English recently hosted an undergraduate research and writing conference that included a roundtable discussion with editors and writers from Arch: UAlbany's only Undergraduate E-Journal of the Creative Arts. The conference highlighted the current work of approximately 25 students.

The discussion, "Making Our Work Public: Writing, Publishing, and Editing as Student Authors," featured students from Arch, an online literary and visual arts magazine staffed entirely by students and run through the Writing Center. Professor Michael Leong served as moderator.

Arch debuted in winter 2014. The magazine’s editors are responsible for reviewing student submissions and making recommendations for potential publication. Since fall 2015, submissions to the Arch have tripled. The editorial staff encourages all interested undergraduates to submit entries for publication.

The role of being an Arch editor has a positive impact on students’ personal and academic lives. Panelists noted that serving as editors strengthens their relationships with their professors.

“Editorial work asks students to use both sides of their brain, as creative writers and as critical readers,” said Director of the English Honors Program Eric Keenaghan, who organized the conference with English Undergraduate Program Director Laura Wilder and English Department Chair Glyne Griffith.

Three students discuss their experiences as Arch editors.

From left: Gwen Bowman, Alyssa Shanderson, and Brenna Croker discuss their experiences as Arch editors.

Having access to a journal like Arch impacts the entire UAlbany undergraduate population.

“There is a whole pool of talent being fostered by student work,” said Jack LaVigne, a junior and Arch contributor. “I think it’s fascinating-- a first step towards a real community of talented writers and artists.”

LaVigne has a word of encouragement for students uncertain about being published.

“Sometimes it can feel dangerous to submit work. I think this is related to rejection. Be honest in your work. It is so valuable to read that sort of thing,” he said.

Alyssa Shanderson, a UAlbany sophomore and chief editor of the Arch, is a double major in political science and English who also has some advice for would-be writers.

“We’re writers who love writing,” she said. “Especially in giving voice to the undergraduate population. Don’t be afraid to put your work out there. The worst we can say is no.” The most important advice Shanderson has for students wishing to submit their work? “Proofread.”

The conference concluded with the launch reading for the Arch Spring 2016 issue hosted by Writing Center Director Jill Hanifan, featuring student editors and contributors.

Students of all majors are welcomed and encouraged to contribute their work, whether written or visual art. For more information about the English Department Research and Writing Conference, contact Eric Keenaghan and for information about Arch, contact Jill Hanifan, (518) 442-4064, or visit the Writing Center in Humanities 140.

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