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Campus Y kicks off One Week of Literacy program

To support the on campus group Project Literacy, students held a Harry Potter trivia contest.
To support the on campus group Project Literacy, students held a Harry Potter trivia contest.

The Campus Y’s idea of promoting literacy isn’t just discussing a work of literature in a group.

Instead, Project Literacy is incorporating more interactive events into this year’s One Week of Literacy, or OWL.

Project Literacy kicked off OWL this week to promote literacy on campus through a variety of events and activities, including a Harry Potter trivia night and a performance by comedy group False Profits.

The group, whose goal is to educate the community about the importance of literacy, has partnered with organizations such as the Orange County Literacy Council to increase awareness for its cause.

In previous years, OWL has not had as many events throughout the week or nearly as many partnerships to aid in the promotion of this event. This year, events will take place every day.

The organizing committee, who planned the week during the course of several months, wanted to have events that would both educate people about their cause and engage possible participants.

“There’s enough variety here that there’s something to appeal to everyone,” said sophomore Heather Wilson, an English major who serves as an organizer on the Project Literacy committee.

Events this week include a literacy talk by former athletic reading specialist Mary Willingham and education professor Julie Justice on Wednesday. A benefit night will also be held at TRU Deli Thursday night, and the week ends with a False Profits comedy show Friday night.

In the past, the week has included the screening of documentaries, which have been successful. In particular, “The American Teacher,” which was screened two years ago, received positive feedback from students and teachers in the community that opened up future partnerships with educators in the area.

“I hope that people would take away just the value of literacy and the value of a good education,” said Zach Freshwater, a senior journalism major and co-chairman of Project Literacy.

Sophomore Sarah Molina, co-chairwoman of Project Literacy, said that while this OWL week features diverse events, its main goal — as well as what makes it unique — is to connect its audiences and participants.

“I think we’re really trying to emphasize both the very serious, almost political nature of these issues about literacy and education, but at the same time connecting to people personally,” she said.

She said even events like the Harry Potter trivia night, which might seem loosely connected to Project Literacy’s goal, can be applied in a larger context to bring people together.

“It allows people to really connect. You meet someone else who’s just this huge Harry Potter fan and you’re connecting over those words you are able to read,” she said.

“So it’s really that enrichment side of literacy, not just the very pragmatic aspects of it.”

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