SWA Stands Strong

SWA Vice President Madeleine Sardina and President Kylie Yockey (right) lead club meetings. Photo by Chantelle Mitchell.

Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s Creative Writing and Literature Department is still going strong, though the number of students on campus has dwindled. With only 15 CWL students enrolled, students and faculty have come together to make sure the passion doesn’t die amongst the young artists. The Student Writers Association, CWL’s writing club, has started off the semester with healthy attendance and plenty of plans for the last two semesters of SFUAD.

“Aside from our standard business,” President Kylie Yockey says, “we really want to highlight having a community and helping each other out through this final year…including integrating more workshops and study sessions. We also have a couple of events planned.” In the past, standard SWA activities have included working on in-club prompt-driven writing and seminars focusing on specific facets of writing such as characterization and setting.

The club plans on holding various different types of study sessions, including having a “knitting and listening to audiobooks” session around medterms and finals, so that students can get some reading in for their essays. “On Halloween, we’re going to have a Jane Austen night where we’re going to be watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at the Forum,” Vice President Madeleine Sardina says. “We’re having our over-nighter at the library, which is going to be similar to the writing marathon we did last year except it’s only 9 [a.m.] to 9 [p.m.] instead of 24 hours. But it will be in the library and it’ll still be super fun and we’ll have lots of coffee and pizza.”

Andrew Koss and Amaya Hoke, Santa Fe University of Art and Design alumni, attend a Student Writers Association meeting. Photo by Chantelle Mitchell

She also says the club has plans for a book binding event. Sardina previously took a class on campus where she learned how to make her own notebooks, one of which she writes in during SWA meetings, and members are excited to follow suit.

The two club officers say the club activities won’t be changing much, despite the drastic changes around campus. “Not too much is different, really. It’s just that, since it’s the last year of SFUAD, we just really really want to get people involved and make sure that everyone is succeeding,” Yockey says. Sardina and Yockey describe the current Creative Writing and Literature department as “determined” and “devoted.” They mention both Julia Goldberg (lead faculty) and Michael Wilson as two who have shown their dedication as professors and made it a priority to help students succeed. “Everyone is doing so much for us,” Yockey says, “we feel really lucky.”

Alexis Hall, previously home to the university’s Writing Center, computer labs and studio space, is no longer the busy place is used to be. Now the building remains mostly inactive, save for the SWA meetings in the back lounge every week. Keeping the meetings in a place that’s familiar to returning students helps Yockey and Sardina in their mission to keep club activities as frequent and fun as before. “We want people to have fun and want to be here, instead of just feeling like they have to get to the end of the year,” Sardina says. “We want them to enjoy being here.”

Students and non-students are welcome to SWA meetings, which are held every Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Alexis Hall. Current members range from CWL students and alumni, Contemporary Music students and even students who have transferred to other institutions.