Starting a club is no mean feat, a fact the UTM Scribes learned this year. The idea for the club, originally known as the Writers Club, came from a Facebook post last summer that called out for writers willing to form a club. Since then the Scribes have been through ups and downs trying to get their club started. Now they’re recognized on Ulife, have held their first general meeting, and have launched a writing blog.
The first president was Joseph Zhang, who reached out through social media to find like-minded writers to form a club. The members met last summer and wrote a constitution. But as the fall term started, the members say they encountered discouragement on campus both inside and outside the club. “There’s a lot of negative energy around at UTM,” says Jahjah, the current president. The members grew apart during the term, but when Zhang secured Ulife recognition, the executives got their second wind.
When the Scribes were just starting out, they met with two EDSS executives, president Siddharth Singh Chaudhari and treasurer Kushagra Sinha. The two contacted the hopeful first-years when they heard they were applying for recognition, advised them that they might not have a high chance of receiving UTMSU funding, and offered them all associate executive positions in EDSS while waiting to apply for recognition for their own club next year. The Scribes found it discouraging.
Chaudhari acknowledges that they met up in August, but he offered a different perspective. He said that since EDSS is a large society with workshops and a good advertising structure, that would be a good environment for the six first-years. Since the society’s constitution only allows first-years to be associates, they would have to grow into the core executive positions in future years. At first, he said, they were excited about the opportunity, but left the Facebook group chat they had been invited to after only a few days. Chaudhari added that EDSS is a well-established group and has no interest in discouraging new writing clubs.
Now the Scribes’ executive team consists of eight people. The two technology coordinators, Sarena and Sasha Nanua, are self-published. The Nanua twins put out their first novel, The Gemstone, in 2012, when they were 15 years old. This book was part of The Pendant Trilogy and the last book, The Poisoned Emerald, was released last year. “We’re really excited to have our trilogy published,” says Sasha Nanua. “We’re already working on a new manuscript and hopefully we’ll write a prequel for The Pendant Trilogy this summer.” The Nanua twins also designed and now run the Scribes’ blog.
The Scribes have approximately 100 members. They held their first general meeting three weeks ago and shared information about the different workshops and ideas the executives plan to bring about.
The Scribes are planning to produce a magazine consisting of the members’ writing next year. They are also holding a logo competition whose voting will take place this week.
No workshops have been held yet, but plans include a stand-up spoken word slam and a group critique of each other’s writing.
Currently, the Scribes are calling for applications for their editorial positions. They plan to keep their writing blog running throughout the summer.