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Spotlight: Students Do the Write Thing in Kenya

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Spotlight: Students Do the Write Thing in Kenya

Date Published:
Monday, December 20, 2010

With assistance from modern technology, a small group of honors students have made a big difference for an African university.

The University Honors Program (UHP) has extended UNC Charlotte’s global reach by helping to create a writing resource center at the Africa International University (AIU), located in Nairobi, Kenya. The Center will help provide students with the resources and training they need to become better writers.

According to UHP director Connie Rothwell, there are several key elements necessary to start a writing center: books, computers and funding. UHP students held several fund-raisers, including a fashion show deemed “Fashion for Peace,” to purchase computers and cover the cost of shipping donated books overseas. Rothwell said the students collected hundreds of books, many from UNC Charlotte’s English department faculty.

The University Honors Program (UHP) has extended UNC Charlotte’s global reach by helping to create a writing resource center at the Africa International University (AIU), located in Nairobi, Kenya.

The program is being spearheaded by Robert Arnold, a UHP lecturer, and a group of 15 UHP students and provides a case study on how modern forms of written and/or visual communication can connect small communities geographically isolated from each other. As little as a decade ago, the ease with which this project was initiated, designed and implemented would have been impossible. Modern forms of communication are largely responsible for allowing a small class of students in the United States to design and fund a project from beginning to end for a small African university in Nairobi, Kenya.

Many students from the AIU become prominent community and government leaders, start schools and focus on ways to combat major issues including poverty and AIDS, Arnold said.

UHP is working with Ben Byerly, a doctoral student attending the Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology. Byerly serves as the writing center’s director.
For more information or to assist in this effort, visit the University Honors Program website or watch a video about the program on YouTube.

Pictured: Shanice Pritchard, Matthew Wilson, David Leimer, Susan Thomas