Mission Statement

We, the members of the Writers House Planning Committee, believe that students at the University of Pennsylvania will benefit from the presence of a home in which creative writing activities are organized, promoted, and shared. In the past few years, many students have demonstrated their interest in writing by attempting to organize independent readings, meeting groups, and literary magazines. However, efforts have in general only been partially successful. Reasons for this include: inadequate means of promoting to the entire campus, confusion over location and lack of space for events, and lack of unity among separate organizations of writers. A central and established location for such a home will enable individuals and groups to 1) easily provide information regarding events to those that are interested in participating, 2) reserve space in which to regularly and consistently engage other writers in such activities, and 3) find a place in which disparate groups can work together with common goals and purposes.

The Writers House, as we have envisioned it, is a place where students of the University of Pennsylvania may engage in self-directed, interactive learning. Its main purpose is to provide a supportive and accessible atmosphere where Penn writers of all kinds can share their works and ideas and enhance their writing skills together. Events of the Writers House are primarily initiated and organized by student affiliates of the house. However, the house welcomes and encourages cooperation with other organizations and departments, within Penn and beyond, i.e. The Penn Creative Writing Department, community service groups and their sister schools, Philadelphia book stores and libraries.

The Writers House will also make available a wide array of electronic equipment which writers will be able to use for their writing or publishing, thus encouraging these pursuits. In addition to being a conventional location for an exchange of ideas, it will also be an unconventional space where virtual realities, electronic texts, and electronic publishing will have a presence. One learns by watching others, and for those who have little knowledge of cyberspace and electronic highways, the Writers House will be the ideal place to discover.

This project is a pilot program of the Provost's 21-Century Initiative. As such, it is modeled from the idea of a "college house," to which students have an affiliation, and within which their university "experience" culminates. Though non-residential, we have attempted to create the atmosphere of a "home," in which students can live and learn together. Affiliations with the Writers House complement and enhance students' academic experience at Penn, extending beyond classrooms into a community which creates and recreates, encouraging expression and encouraging its writers to define the nature of that expression for themselves.

Affiliation with the Writers House contributes to the entire student experience throughout the duration of a student's involvement with the University of Pennsylvania. The presence of a centralized writing community will attract many potential students to Penn, providing a niche they can immediately enter regardless of their other educational goals. Once these students enter Penn, they will have a place to meet and interact with other, more-established students, who will help to orient them to life at this university. Furthermore, this orientation will center around a common interest in expression through writing, providing an attractive alternative to more purely social organizations, such as fraternities and sororities.

While at Penn, these writers will have a place to come and engage one another, regardless of which path their classroom education takes. The Writers House does not affiliate itself with one particular major or school within the university. Therefore, it allows engineers, economists, and literary critics to share a common identity through writing, independent of their other academic identities. Throughout their college career, the Writers House will provide a network of other writers, at Penn and beyond, which will aid these students in developing their writing interests.

Finally, when affiliates of the Writers House are ready to leave Penn and enter into the world of graduate studies or a career, this house will help them make that transition. It will provide both mentors (older students and visiting writers) and a centralized technology base with information pertaining to careers for writers. Students will be able to consult with advisors in their schools and majors and then come to the Writers House to find out how they can combine their options and interests in their futures.

The students and faculty which have contributed to this project have brought with them incredible amounts of passion and energy. We feel this is reflective of a general trend among writers at Penn. Therefore, we look forward to the day we can open this home to the entire Penn writing community. Only then can we begin to unite the many more writers waiting to find such a home.