In October, tutors from the SOU Writing Center accompanied Writing Center director Deborah Brown to the Pacific Northwest Writing Center Association Conference in Des Moines, Washington. Aside from attending as many relevant presentations and panels as possible between the four SOU representatives in order to learn how to better serve students, the group also presented on the topic of veterans in the Writing Center.
This topic “has not received much discussion in the past,” stated Anna Lopez, tutor and soon-to-graduate Psychology major, “but [it] is becoming increasingly important” as more veterans take advantage of the GI Bill. This being the case, one reason behind presenting on the topic of serving vets in writing centers was to bring more attention to an often overlooked, yet steadily growing population of non-traditional students.
While this topic is important to writing centers across the country, it is especially relevant to SOU tutors, since the university maintains a slightly higher than average percentage of veterans. As a professor of a University Seminar course on war, Professor Brown commented “I naturally have a number of veterans in my classes,” thus further motivating an interest in this particular portion of the student population. Brown went on to say “having student [tutors] get more involved gives them experience that will hopefully spark new research interests…and give them connections in the field.” In fact, at the end of the presentation, all three tutors received a job offer from the director of OSU’s writing center.
All who attended the presentation—both directors and student tutors alike—showed a great deal of interest in the topic and left feeling better informed and wanting to learn more about how to better serve their own student vet population. “Having people in positions to make change[s] come up to me after the presentation and ask me my personal opinion and ideas on how to better serve the vet students and showing outrage at how schools have been failing them gave me hope for the future of vets in the college system,” commented Brandon Barker, a tutor, Business major, and Navy vet. Hopefully further research will now be done on this topic, potentially starting on the SOU campus.