This Is What Community Engagement Looks Like — Last week was National Volunteer Week. In support of this national campaign, UNC Charlotte’s Office of Community Relations organized several volunteer opportunities for university employees. Jennie Mussington and Angie Williams from our English Department both participated in this campaign.
On Monday, April 8, 2019, Jennie volunteered for “Operation Sandwich.” Jennie and the other volunteers made over 2,000 sandwiches. Jennie’s group made over 600 turkey and ham sandwiches within an hour, breaking their record from last years. All of these sandwiches were donated to the Urban Ministry, the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, McCrorey YMCA, the United Way of Cabarrus County, and other groups that help people in need of food. That same day, Angie volunteered for the Second Harvest Food Bank. As part of her volunteer work, she helped put together 1,200 meal supplement backpacks. On Thursday, April 11, Jennie volunteered at the Crisis Assistance Ministry, where she helped sort donation and stock shelves in their free store. The next day, Angie volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. She thought she was going to paint, but she ended up spending the day putting up sheet rock.
The Jennie’s and Angie’s willingness to volunteer on projects benefiting our community is in keeping with our departmental commitment to community engagement. Many members of our department regularly participate in community engagement activities. Here are just a few examples. Meghan Barnes often volunteers with the homeless people who find shelter and assistance at Moore Place. Janaka Lewis frequently gives talks and workshops on African American literature and history at area schools. In fact, this week, she is giving a presentation called “Telling Stories, Talking about Biography” to third graders at Carl A Furr Elementary in Concord. Many of our students also engage in community projects. For example, at the recent Center City Literary Festival, students from both the English Learning Community and the Children’s Literature Graduate Organization volunteered their time.
When Angie was volunteering for Habit for Humanity, she wore a special shirt for the volunteers. The following sentence was stamped on the front of this shirt: “This is what community engagement looks like!” And it’s true. Community engagement does look like Angie, and Jennie, and Meghan, and Janaka, and …. Well, the list is too long to mention everybody, so let’s just say that community engagement looks like the English Department.
Misty Morin’s Fulbright Award — Misty Morin, who is double majoring in English and Spanish, recently learned that she received a Fulbright Award to support her to travel to La Rioja, Spain, to teach. In response to an email asking about the details of her Fulbright, she wrote, “I will be traveling to the autonomous community of La Rioja, Spain, to teach English to children. My term begins in September and lasts through June. I am also expected to lead an engagement project, and my proposal for this is to host events at libraries or community centers that invite children and their partners to engage in active reading.” Speaking on behalf of the English Department, I congratulate Misty on receiving this Fulbright Award.
Kudos — As you know, I like to use my Monday Missives to share news about recent accomplishments by members of the English Department. Here is the latest news:
Christine Arvidson is featured on a podcast interview. Please click on the following link to hear this interview: https://charlottereaderspodcast.com/the-love-of-baseball-essays-by-lifelong-fans/
Meghan Barnes is featured in a podcast interview. Please click on the following link to hear this interview: olle.coe.uga.edu/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Leveraging-Digital-Spaces-for-Pre-Service-Teachers-to-Practice-Reading-and-Responding-to-Student-Writing.m4a
Pilar Blitvich currently has the following three essays in production. Her article titled “Politeness in Discursive Pragmatics” has been accepted for publication in a quo vadis issue of the Journal of Pragmatics. Her book chapter titled “Spanish Retailer-Consumer Interactions on Facebook: A Variational Pragmatics Perspective on Conflict” will appear in Pragmatic Variation in Service Encounter Interactions (London: Routledge), and another book chapter titled “‘You are shamed for speaking it or for not speaking it good enough’: Paradoxical Status of Spanish in the US Latino Community” will appear in Handbook of Language in Conflict (London: Routledge).
Janaka Lewis recently presented a paper titled “Real Talk: Social Justice, Adolescent Literature, and the Movement 4 Black Lives” at the College Language Association Conference in Raleigh.
Liz Miller recently gave an invited talk titled “‘Everything is Dangerous’: Exploring Research on Agency and Language Learning” at the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan, at the University of Oslo.
Daniel Shealy recently wrote a blog post for the Little Women at 150 blog. Please click on the following link to read his post: https://lw150.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/chapter-xxxiv-a-friend/
Clayton Tarr recently had an essay titled “The Loss of Maidenhead: Rape and the Revolutionary Novel” published in Eighteenth-Century Fiction.
Upcoming Events and Meetings — Here is a list of upcoming events and deadlines:
April 23 — On Tuesday, April 23, our English Department and the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens will co-sponsor an event titled “Gardens and Verses: An Earth Day Celebration.” The event will take place in the Botanical Gardens from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event will feature poetry readings about nature, on-site writing opportunities, and games all in celebration of the relationship between gardens and language. Jen Munroe and Matt Rowney from the English Department and Jeff Gillman from the Botanical Gardens are the key organizers of this event.
April 24 — On Wednesday, April 24, our English Department Student Awards Ceremony will be held in the Dale Halton Room of the Atkins Library starting at 11:30am.
April 26 — On Friday, April 26, our last English Department meeting of the academic year will be held at 11-12:30 in the conference room (Fretwell 280C).
Quirky Quiz Question — As a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Angie Williams now has a point in common with one of our former presidents. What former president regularly volunteers for Habitat for Humanity?
Last week’s answer: Lucille Ball
One of Ginger Rogers’s best friends ran an entertainment company called Desilu Productions. What is the name of this friend of Ginger Rogers?