New writing center in Orem aims to help students and public


A comma here, capitalize that, do not put a hyphen there — writing the English language can be quite a chore sometimes.

New opportunities for improving writing skills are now readily available for residents of Provo and Orem, as well as UVU students. Through funding from a grant courtesy of the Center of Engaged Learning at UVU, a new community writing center is available at the Orem Public Library.

The idea for the center was inspired by a similar center at the Salt Lake Public Library, sponsored by Salt Lake Community College. Dr. Joshua Hilst, faculty director of the UVU writing center, found the services offered there beneficial and wanted to bring those to Utah County.

“It is a wonderful operation that is now in its 10th year of operation,” Hilst said. “It was an interesting idea, and it was something we’d been kicking around.”

The Salt Lake Community Writing Center at first offered help with mostly resumes and cover letters. Now, the center covers everything from poetry composition to essay brainstorming. The Orem center has similar goals, but further in the future.

“They conduct poetry workshops, nonfiction workshops, fiction workshops,” Hilst said. “If we’re successful, we’ll expect that will come in time.”

Leigh Ann Copas, UVU writing center coordinator, said most students come in to the UVU writing center for general help with papers. With the new center, Hilst said the assistance required won’t quite be the same.

“We’re instead trying to focus on job literacy,” Hilst said.

Hilst said an average of 100 students come into the center daily needing assistance. He hopes that same volume will continue at the new center.

BYU’s writing center, in 4026 JKB, has aided students in similar ways for more than 40 years now. Haley Bateman, a senior from Fayetteville, Ark., studying English, is a tutor at the writing center. She said students come in with a wide variety of needs and a variety of assignments. Whether it is an economics paper, a resume or an application for graduate school, she and other tutors have seen it all from nearly 10,000 yearly tutorials offered.

“People can come in at any stage of the writing process, whether they’re brainstorming or about to turn in a final draft,” Bateman said.

Though the tutors are always available for assistance, Jacob Cutler, a senior from Sandy studying English, said it’s better when his help isn’t as necessary.

“For us, it’s ideal if they’re figuring things out on their own,” Cutler said.

As well as her love for reading and writing, Bateman said the center has been a tremendous learning experience for her.

“Even in 20 minutes, you can somehow help them with the things that you’ve learned,” Bateman said.

In addition to the main writing center, there are numerous writing centers around campus specializing in fields of study, such as the center at the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences. Tutors at these centers concentrate on papers and assignments within the field.

The Orem community writing center is offering help for students and public alike from 2-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon-4 p.m. on Fridays. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.

“We’re really here to build the writer into a stronger writer,” Copas said.

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