by Brian Branscum
Every year, the Professional Writing Major hosts a themed event where students get a demonstration of what it is like to go to conferences and enjoy a great opportunity to fellowship with one another. These events allow students to hear from great speakers such as upperclassmen, enjoy good food, and play games that correlate with the theme in question. Each retreat also ends with a final event, usually a big game or other activity that involves the collective of the major.
PWR Retreat Spring 2016 – Lumos
In the Spring of 2016, the major centered the PWR Retreat around the theme of J. K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter series. When participants entered Hogwarts they were sorted into their houses by the Sorting Hat and joined one of the four banquet tables with their very own hand crafted wand.
Speakers for the event included Hanna Smith and Chrysa Keenon (Writing Exercises), Brian J. Branscum (Developing your Magic System), Deanna Menke (Characterization from Harry Potter) as well as a panel lead by seniors and upperclassmen (Hogwarts Professors).
During the event house points were rewarded for participation and correct answers surrounding Harry Potter trivia. The points were counted up and Slytherin was declared the winner!
The event wrapped up with a competition to retrieve a dragon egg (tennis ball) from the deadly dragon. Competitions grew fierce, but luckily no limbs were lost and no one fell off their broomstick (or swallowed the golden snitch).
PWR Retreat Fall 2016 – The Last Pro-Writer
In the Fall of 2016, The Professional Writing major hosted its theme around the Nickelodeon cartoon, Avatar The Last Airbender. Speakers at this retreat included Hannah Schaefer (Self-care for Writers), Brian J. Branscum (Setting as a Character) Hannah Smith and Sarah Gorman (Disabilities in Characters), and Ian Proano (Pro-writing and Video Games).
Games put on at the event included a writing prompt exercise, an elevator pitch event, and introduced the Ember Island Players: an event where participants reenact favorite scenes from fiction in over-the-top, terrible ways.