Under the leadership of FUSE director Lauren Bailey, 10 Susquehanna University students traveled to Washington, D.C., on Feb. 2-5, 2011, for the national AWP conference.
Lauren Bailey, Melissa Goodrich, Mike Coakley, Kim Stoll, Mike Fiorilla, Andrew Pryor, Allison Enzinna, Sarah Gzemski, Emma McClelland, and Melissa Bierly volunteered at the AWP registration booth on Wednesday, ate organic Chinese food on Connecticut Avenue with SU professors Catherine Dent and Silas Zobal, and then found their way to their respective lodgings.
Four SU alumni families hosted six of the students, two students stayed with relatives, and two were lodged at the conference hotel. Thursday, all attended panels and readings, finding each other at the book fair and hotel lobby and going to hear the keynote by Jhumpa Lahiri before calling it a day.
Friday morning, FUSE members convened at 9 a.m. for Metro and shuttle rides to American University to hold the national FUSE caucus.
McClelland and Pryor hung flyers directing attendees to McDowell Lounge. Fiorilla and Bierly manned a sign-in sheet. At 10:30, Bailey called the meeting to order.
Students and faculty from Bennington College, Widener University, and Susquehanna elected national officers including a student president, vice presidents and secretary, and four faculty positions. The group voted on the panel topic for next year's conference in Chicago, for which AWP's conference director Christian Teresi has guaranteed a spot on AWP's program.
Goodrich, co-editor of Susquehanna Review, addressed this year's panel topic: the undergraduate journal going online. Esme Franklin from Bennington College presented plain china, and Danella Shallow and Kyle Guies spoke about Widener University's Blue Route.
Later, back at the Marriott, students ran into SU professors Gary Fincke and Glen Retief as well as mentor-at-large Joe Scapellato. They attended more panels and readings, with Junot Diaz as a highlight. Saturday morning, everyone headed home, bags full of magazines and books.
Our hope is that Susquehanna University will serve as founder of a nationally-staffed FUSE, while continuing to host a chapter at SU. Over the next year, officers will establish a national discussion board, a Facebook page, and a plan for the conference in Chicago. For the present, FUSE at Susquehanna Review will continue to host the Directory of Undergraduate Literary Journals and FUSE REVIEWS.
This trip was made possible by funding from Susquehanna University's Provost and the Student Government Association. Thanks to everyone for your support.