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The Scribe and Muse club hopes to improve literacy in University of Calgary students.
the Gauntlet

Scribe and Muse describe their musings

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In Greek mythology, the Muses were goddesses who inspired the creation of literature and the arts. Now, the new Scribe and Muse club hopes to do the same this upcoming year at the University of Calgary.

"We saw some issues in the English department we wanted to change," said club president Mike Beckett. "Make it a bit more flamboyant, a bit more attractive, a little more sexy."

Beckett, a fourth-year honours English student, was not always passionate about his program choice.

"I started out in business but transferred because I didn't like it," said Beckett. "My level of enjoyment and engagement has increased."

Other members of the club were also not very involved in the English program. Vice-president communications Sona Malhotra was in the engineering program before she transferred.

"The only reason I went into engineering was social pressure," said Malhotra. "I went to all my classes and I went to all my tutorials and did the work but I was never happy."

"If kids are out there and they are not happy in their current program and their heart lies somewhere else, I would definitely recommend following your heart because I am a lot happier now than I ever was in business," said Beckett.

Beckett is often questioned on why he transferred out of business and what he will do with his English degree.

"There is this illusion that you just have to be a writer or that you just have to be an editor," said Beckett. "Many influential people have English degrees."

The club also hopes to bring people in from other disciplines to interact and network.

"One of the major complaints from engineering professors is that these kids are brilliant with numbers, if only they could articulate themselves a little better," said Beckett.

Scribe and Muse plans to offer a program that matches students with an "A" student to help improve reading and writing skills. A peer-editing program is also being put in place where students can get critical feedback on their essays and other writing.

"Writing is often seen as a solitary process," said VP Ken Hunt. "That is something that is not necessarily true. There are a lot of ways to improve your writing and get ideas in a collaborative environment."

Club members agreed that literacy is not only an important skill but the catalyst for impacting positive social and political change.

"We are in a society that really values math and science and the skills like reading and writing are continually undervalued," said Beckett.

VP communications Yilan Li is studying engineering at the university. He hopes to improve his communication and writing skills with the club.

"I am an engineer, so I have never been much of a writer. Most of the reading I have done has been out of a textbook, so kind of dry. Being able to communicate strongly in essays and projects would bring up my GPA and my skill of writing overall."

Li does website and logo design for the club as well.

"I really like the idea of cultivating my own interest within the club," said Li. "Computers and design are my strong skills."

"You are not going to write a masterpiece right off the bat, nobody can," Beckett advised.

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