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EMU Campus

Project One: Campus Locations

Think back to your first encounters with Eastern Michigan University: a fall visit with your parents, perhaps, or a weekend with an older brother or sister already here, or the promotional brochures you received in the mail, or surfing EMU's website. Maybe you've known campus for many years, having grown up near the campus.

As in any first meeting, you jumped to conclusions, made comparisons, judged the architecture and greenery and layout of the campus, liked or didn't like the student guide, liked or didn't like others on your tour. You formed impressions—some through conversation, others through your own perspective on what you saw. You also had questions—what are classes like? how hard will they be? is it really a party school? will I get to pick my dorm? will I be happy here? will I fit in? is this the right place for me? how do I know?

Then opening weekend came and went, and you started to settle into a routine. If you commute, you figured out how long it takes to get to campus, where to park, what routes are best for you. For those on campus, amid the chaos of meeting your roommates, getting unpacked, figuring out your schedule, locating classroom buildings, going to a party or two, you, too, reached more preliminary conclusions. You started to feel at ease (or not), to make friends (or at least find a group to go to dinner with), and to form a deeper understanding of this place. You started to notice too places where you felt more comfortable or more invited or safer than other places—that is, as always, you noticed the geographies of inclusion and exclusion.

Finally, recall the campus maps of the imagination sketch you created on the first day of class. Everyone's sketches are available for you to browse online. Perhaps your imagined sense of the campus landscape has shifted in the early weeks of the new semester. Think of the sketch you made as a reference point—a resource and form of evidence—for you to work from as you begin to think about how well you know this place.

Writing Assignment

"The geography of a campus and the architecture of its buildings, then, are projections or products of a prevailing imagination, and in turn, they help to reproduce imagination (assumptions about what is good and bad, what should be done, what can be done, and how things should be carried out)"
Johnathon Mauk, College English, "Location, Location, Location"

For now, and for this first project, you will explore the geography of EMU—its buildings, its layout, its social atmospheres, its patterns of inclusion and exclusion—as a first-year student, new to the campus, ever changing in your perceptions. For example,

To prepare further for this project, you will read and discuss an excerpt from the "Introduction" to Geographies of Exclusion by David Sibley.

You will invent ideas for your essay—that is, you will make observations, write descriptions, tell stories, look for patterns, and draw conclusions—by doing a number exercises in class and as homework. Feel free to visit the University Writing Center to discuss your ideas with a consultant, or for response, feedback, and advice on a draft.

A draft of the project (3 double-spaced pages, word processed, 12 point font) is due on Monday, September 24. Bring a paper copy with you to class. The finished project (4 double-spaced pages, word processed, 12 point font) on Wednesday, September 26.

Assessment Criteria
Your project will be assessed for its strengths in the following five areas.

Evaluation Criteria

Each criterion listed above will be evaluated on the following scale:


EX: Exceptional. The writer has applied the criterion with distinction.
AC: Acceptable/meets expectations. The writer has applied the criterion to a satisfactory degree.
NI: Needs improvement. The writer has minimally applied the criterion in the project.
NA: Not applied. The writer has not applied the criterion in the project.

Contact Information

Derek N. Mueller, PhD
Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Writing
Director of Composition
Department of English
Virginia Tech
Office: 315 Shanks Hall
Spring 2019 Office Hours: T, 12-3
Phone: +1-734-985-0485

"Fold up the maps and put away the globe. If someone else has charted it, let them. Start another drawing with whales at the bottom and cormorants at the top, and in between identify, if you can, the places you have not found yet on those other maps, the connections obvious only to you. Round and flat, only a very little has been discovered" (88). —Jeanette Winterson, Sexing the Cherry

"Let's say you were from somewhere else, seeing this Earth from space for the first time. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be satisfied with that view; I'd want to get closer, walk around on it, even get down on my hands and knees. That's how I prefer to see the Earth." —Wendell Berry, Interview with Jordan Fisher-Smith

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