UCU Writing Center ignites writing passion

By Asenath Were

The Uganda Christian University (UCU) writing center has officially launched its first writing week, the first of its kind since its launch in 2022. Intending to increase awareness of the writing center in the UCU community, the center launched a writing week on February 19, 2024.

According to Martin Kajubi, the acting manager for the university writing center, it hopes to promote awareness through the writing week and also help students who have writing issues that cannot wait and maybe have been a little distanced from the writing center.

“I desire to have the aspect that the writing center is known by all the students of UCU and they can know the specific services we offer; that it is not a literature club but a place you walk into with any sort of writing challenge you have, and regardless of the course you are taking, you get the help you need,” Kajubi said.

Joan Nabirye Mbabazi, an IT student in her third year but also a student coach at the writing center, said that the writing week has been fun and she has interacted with many people. 

She also realized that students always keep problems to themselves, but this week has been a breakthrough for many, especially those in her department (IT).

“Today was IT day, and I interacted with students who came with a problem. I have realized that when they have a problem, they keep it to themselves, and today, the people I have been working with have shown me that there is a lot that we need to work on to solve that gap.” She remarked

Additionally, Mbabazi said that being a student coach has allowed her to network with people, especially those in bigger offices, that she does not know, as well as her fellow students.

Isaac Arinda Lugabwa, a student coach at the center offering law, says that being pioneers of the writing center, they did not have much idea about how the center was supposed to run, but through the various training sessions they got from the University of Connecticut, they started applying the craft to the center.

“As a student coach, I am tasked with listening to students’ problems and then guiding them to the position they want to take. My role is helping them realize their potential and come up with better pieces of writing than me writing for them.” Lugabwa stated.

“The writing center is a space where students discover their hidden potential, especially in the world of writing.” He added. To him, writing is something broad and entails research, poetry, composition, and so on; therefore, “we call this a writing center because it is where we gather all this potential under one theme.” Lugabwa specified.

Hosanah Cheruto Yego, an IT student in their third year, says that as a student who benefits from the writing center, it has helped her learn new stuff in her field of study.

“Last semester, the center helped me out when I was doing my project; the coach kept showing me new features and told me to try out a new language and a new framework because the one I had at that time was giving me a hard time.” She said.

Yego advises other students to be adventurous and try out new things because, when I was told to come here for help, I thought they would refer me to websites, yet I needed a one-on-one with someone. I was delighted to find people. “At least, I am interfacing with someone and not being directed to a website.” She says.

Charles Muganga, a third-year student doing computer science and a student coach at the writing center for his field, said that they do more project learning at the writing center compared to class, where they only attend lectures and leave what they have learned in class.

“The writing center has helped me improve my skills in programming because when I am helping out someone with a project, I am also learning.“ Personally, yes, I used to reach out and help students in my class, but now I even help students who have just joined and students who are not on my level,” Muganga said.

The center has several activities running this week, which include English language training to help the students who are going to do the ILT exams and for the students from francophone countries, the ‘TOFEL’ training, for those doing tests for their international papers and studying abroad, letter and CV writing, and research, to mention but a few.