Sunday, November 6, 2011

Isabel Silva: The Bunnicula Project: Putting English Students to Good Use for a Good Cause

Nearly every time I tell someone that I am majoring in English I get the concerned and slightly sarcastic reply of, “Oh! So you’re going to be a teacher?” This has always bothered me, not because I think there is anything wrong with the profession, but because people always assume that the only thing someone can do with a degree in English is teach English.

In our Writing for the Arts class, we disprove this stereotype every time we step into the classroom. This class, and the “Bunnicula Project” that we worked on for the first half of the semester, have shown not only that there are many types of jobs for writers, but also that these positions can go a step further and benefit the community. The “Bunnicula Project” is proof that the skills gained from the study of English can be applied to many different jobs that are just as challenging and fulfilling as teaching.

The “Bunnicula Project” challenged people’s perceptions of what English majors can do in many ways; when hearing about the project, most people would assume that we were writing the script for the play and were surprised to learn that there was actually much more writing involved in the production process.  While working on this project, our class learned about how much writing is actually involved in the production of a play, and I think we are all quite surprised by the amount. We created memos, letters, advertisements, blog posts, and program pieces, among other things. In writing these pieces, we learned how to critique each other’s work and take the best from each, compiling them to create the finished product. This work benefitted not only the community participating in and watching the Bunnicula performance, but us students as well.

Though I was already familiar with the many ways in which reading and writing skills can be applied to real-life jobs and opportunities, I was still surprised at how many possibilities this class opened up for me. The study of English develops in its students reading, writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills that become invaluable to any employer. It’s great that, as a writer, I can use these skills to find a job doing editing, grant writing, technical writing, review writing, etc. but it is even more exciting to know that these same skills can be applied in ways that will benefit others, by working with non-profit organizations or helping with a project such as the “Bunnicula Project” on which we just finished working.  

It feels great to know that the work we did for Bunnicula has made a difference in the community. If not for this project, many of the children may not have had the opportunity to participate in a theatre production. For many of the actors, it was their first time ever performing and I am so pleased that we were able to give them that experience. In addition, we were able to raise $250 dollars for the West Pittston library to aid in the flood recovery of their children’s section. The “Bunnicula project” has paved the way for more children’s theatre in the community and created the beginnings of a valuable partnership between King’s College and ArtsYOUniverse that is sure to benefit the community with future projects. I’m glad that, through the Writing for the Arts course, I was able to use my linguistic talents for such a good cause and hope that more English majors will use their skills to benefit others as they go through their college careers. 

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