When our executive board of Alpha Chi Omicron, Fordham University‘s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, met at the start of last school year to begin planning our activities, we immediately recognized the unique opportunity before us. Like many other universities, Fordham opened its gates in fall 2021 excited to return to in-person classes and extracurricular programming. However, very few students knew what in-person campus life looked and felt like. The senior class was therefore tasked with the responsibility of re-introducing past routines and traditions to the rest of the student body who were unfamiliar with such programming. As an all-senior executive board, we wanted to contribute to this reinvigoration of campus life and so we came up with the idea of Lit Week.
With the hope of encouraging chapter participation and promoting a love of literature on our college campus, our executive board launched Fordham University’s first ever Lit Week, a week-long celebration of English majors and their unique and creative passions. We planned three events focused on our shared love of reading and writing for the members of Alpha Chi Omicron: a creative writing workshop, a “kill your darlings” open mic, and a field trip to a local bookstore. We partnered with Rodrigues, a student-led club and coffee shop at Fordham and are grateful to have been able to use their space for our events. Students were able to share their poems, short stories, and chapters both in informal peer-led writing workshops and on stage before the audience at Rod’s. It was amazing to see just how quickly we could form a community as we huddled together, heads down with pens to paper.
The highlight of the week was our field trip to The Lit. Bar, which is the only brick and mortar bookstore in the Bronx. We took around 10 members to the store at the end of the week and were able to offer each attendee a book thanks to the generosity of Sigma Tau Delta’s Chapter Project Grant. It was great to spend the afternoon getting to know other chapter members as we rode the bus to The Lit. Bar and even better to discuss each other’s favorite books as we perused the aisles of the store.
Our executive board is so happy with how our event turned out! The students who were able to attend our events expressed immense relief at finally being able to connect in person with their fellow literature lovers and have a space to work on their writing outside of the classroom. Jacob, a student who came with us to The Lit. Bar, said that it was “very cool to visit the only independent bookstore in the Bronx,” and it’s “definitely somewhere” he wants to visit again. Our executive board was especially proud of the writing workshop we held at the student-run coffee shop on campus. It was a meaningful experience for us as seniors to be able to read and work with underclassmen on their writing and to establish this tradition of literary exploration at Fordham University before our time there came to a close.
While we thought Lit Week had a great debut, there is always room for improvement. At the business meeting following our induction ceremony this past spring, we advised the incoming Alpha Chi Omicron executive board to ask professors in the English department to advertise for Lit Week in their classes so that we may reach a wider audience. We also suggested collaborating with other groups on campus such as the student newspapers and magazines to bring together an even larger community excited to share their stories and ideas.
We hope that other Sigma Ta Delta chapters will host their own Lit Weeks! If your chapter is looking to begin the tradition of Lit Week, we highly recommend partnering with independent bookstores near your campus to help students get immersed in the literary community off campus. Happy reading!
Sigma Tau Delta Project Grants
Sigma Tau Delta’s Project Grants are designed to encourage local chapters to be innovative in developing projects that further the goals of the Society. The Society will award a limited number of grants, for no more than $500 each, to support local chapter activities. Funds may be requested for separate projects or for parts of larger projects, and chapters should explore ways to use Project Grants in combination with funds secured from other sources. Funds may be requested for ongoing projects, but there is no guarantee that projects funded during one grant period will receive funding in future grant periods.
Applications must be complete and received by November 07, 2022. No late submissions will be accepted. Award winners will be notified by December 5, 2022, with one-half of the awarded funds mailed in early January; the other half when a final project reflection is submitted. The Final Project Reflection is due May 1, 2023.
Sigma Tau Delta Project Grant Resources
More Chapter Project Grant Reports
Honoring Writing and the Creative Arts with a Project Grant
Ravens and RiverMead Read!
When Words Come to Life
Leo’s Little Free Library
Online Tutoring Partnership
Restocking the Military Resource Center’s Lending Library
Writing Contest for Secondary Schools
AuthorShip! Writing Contest
Little Free Library
Common Reader Community Discussion
English Careers Event