Today we held the first annual UVU Conference on Writing for Social Change. After months of serving on the planning committee, it was a pleasure to see it all come together. We had a fantastic keynote speaker, a full afternoon with enough student and community presentations to fill three concurrent sessions, and attendance was better than expected.
I can't imagine that I would have had the guts to submit a paper to present at a conference, at least as an undergrad. The only actual piece of writing for social change I put out publicly during that time was a preachy letter to the editor of the student newspaper about illegal parking on campus.
One year I worked as a volunteer student defender for parking court and couldn't believe the number of students who wrongly received parking tickets. Then the university announced a new probation policy for parking tickets, which seemed harsh. Me being me, I wanted to get a better sense of what was going on, so I called BYU police and arranged to shadow one of the officers on parking patrol. That experience opened my eyes to another side of the story; I was astounded by all of the blatant illegal parking. And so I preached. The editor actually titled my letter "No virtue?"
That wasn't actually the only letter to the editor I wrote to the student newspaper, though.
My other letter was in response to an AP article about a nude wedding in another state. I thought it was hilarious. Seriously, at BYU? And so I wrote:
I was shocked and appalled to see a story about a nude wedding in The Daily Universe. Thank heavens you didn't send a photographer to cover the event.
I thought I was being so clever. But it turned out that even my closest friends weren't sure whether I was being serious or not. A couple of readers wrote rebuttal letters, one of whom accused me of being so prudish that I probably didn't even drink Coke. Heh heh.