EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
Department of English Language and Literature
612 Pray-Harrold Hall
Ypsilanti, MI. 48197-2210
(734) 487-4220 Phone
AClient Proposal for a High School
Writing Outreach Program
Dr. Ann Blakeslee
Dr. Melissa Motschall
Dr. Carol Schlagheck
October 21, 2002
First, the main audience we hope to reach are the actual high school
students who will be taking part in “The Write-Link” program. The targeted age
group will range from 16 to 18 years old, encompassing students going into their
junior and senior years throughout the Metro Detroit area. These students should
have a passion or interest in writing and a desire to find out more about possible
futures in the writing world. Since this is the first time an event like this has been
attempted through EMU, it is difficult to exactly gauge how big of a response we
will receive. Moreover, we feel that because this is a highly competitive program,
with several enticing benefits, many students will want to take advantage of such
an opportunity. Ultimately, our aim at this time is to select 20 students from
among the applications received. The limitation to 20 students is in part due to
the size of EMU's writing labs. Participants will be encouraged and enabled to do
hands on work at various times throughout the program.
A second public we need to reach are the English teachers of students
who may be potential participants in the program. Through these teachers,
students will be informed of the program and all the benefits therein. We feel that
educators are a vital link in reaching students who wish to participate in “The
Write Link.” By helping to make the teachers aware of our program, we will have
a much better chance at reaching students interested in a future career in writing.
Third, we need to inform the parents of the students who may wish to
take part in “The Write-Link.” Through our media outlets, parents are to be
assured that the program is a very safe, highly professional and extremely
beneficial event for their sons or daughters. Any caring parent wants only the
best possible future for their children. Likewise, for those students who have an
ambition or flare for writing, this program can be an excellent opportunity for
parents to help encourage their children to pursue their dreams.
Another key public we need to reach are the actual faculty members who
will be speaking, teaching and helping the students throughout the program. The
body of this group will be made up of English and writing teachers in EMU’s
4. Persuasive Strategies
In order for the Write-Link program to have any hopes for success in it’s first
go around as well as any subsequent attempts in future years, it is vital that we
showcase the many benefits the program has to offer to all involved. In doing so,
many persuasive appeals were used and implied. These include appeals of
benefits for all involved. For EMU, programs like these help to increase
enrolment at the university. They show the world that Eastern is not a secondary
college but instead a very active and helpful one looking to grow and help
society. For students looking to participate in the event, the benefits are obvious.
After all, the whole program is about helping young adults grasp a vision of what
sort of futures exist in careers based in writing. The program offers hope and
encouragement, both of which are especially needed in the nation’s current
economic status. Several pieces of writing and creative ideas were used to help
carryout this task.
First, lets look at the name itself: “The Write-Link: Careers in the Writing
World.” The name immediately opens the eyes and calls the attention of any
students interested in writing. It also catches the eyes of teachers and parents
who wish to help propel their students’ and children’s futures. The use of the
words Write-Link (Wright with a “W” for the sake of highlighting the actual writing
aspect of the event hints that in being fortunate enough to take part in the
program, students will be taking the first step down a road of success and
opportunity. Again, the aim is to catch the attention and interest of all those in our
Also used to help promote the program were response cover letters sent to
both schools targeted for the project. These schools include; Jackson High
School and Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, both of which sent letters of
encouragement and support in response to hearing about the Write-Link
program. Because both schools come from very different economic backgrounds,
it was necessary to write two separate letters responding to the very different
needs and hopes of each school. For instance, in the support letter from Michael
R. Mason, an English teacher at Jackson High, the concern was laid out that
students in that district had several socio-economic challenges and barriers
which worked to prevent them from going on to college. In our response letter,
we addressed these concerns and highlighted the point that outreach programs
such as the Write-Link can help combat such barriers. In contrast, the support
letter from Pioneer High stated that the school had many students interested in
writing who would benefit from the program by further developing their skills. In
our response, we pointed out that by continuing to develop skills and growing,
these students will better be able to help the community and advance further.
Though the two strategies were a little different, the underlying theme was that of
growth and hope. Anyone who cares for young adults, or the betterment of
society in general, would be moved by such notions.
Another medium used was through a news release sent out to the two
schools’ newspapers and the development of 10 and 30 second PSA’s. The
release was aimed again at reaching the faculty and students potentially
involved in and interested in the program. Psychologically, this method is very
effective. It offers a great deal of credibility to the project. When we see
something in print, immediately there’s a serious or professional aura about it.
That, doubled with the fact that it’s promoted and run by EMU, lends to strong
feelings that this is a highly useful undertaking.
For the Write-Link, these psychological and consistent feelings will help
further student interest in partaking in the program. The PSA’s aim is very similar.
The two pieces were designed to be played on the radio, more specifically, radio
stations young Americans most typically listen to. By reaching students through
this method, the program becomes more “real” and attractive.
This is the first time Eastern’s English department has attempted a program
such as the Write-Link. That being said, those involved in putting the event
together have had a chance to be rather creative in their attempts. Of course
there are many similar programs out there done by other universities and even
other departments at EMU, therefore it was easy to find models which we could
follow. Nevertheless, the Write-Link outreach program still has some interesting
flairs to it.
The first of which deals with the high levels of collaboration involved. People
from several different positions and groups are coming together to make this
program work. The administration of Write-Link utilizes the talents and knowledge
of members of EMU’s English department faculty and the input of higher level
juniors and seniors in the public relations and technical writing fields. Also key to
the program’s success are faculty from the two high schools. Teachers,
counselors and both principals have offered their assistance in this project. And
finally are the high school students themselves. It’s through their
efforts, talents and drives that this program will work, survive and grow in the
The use of all these different groups makes the Write-Link a very creative and
exciting event by bringing so many people together. The beauty of it all is that
everyone wins. High school faculty gets to help their students. EMU students
also have a chance to learn and grow. And Eastern’s faculty gets a chance to
reach out and help not only promote the university, but also society itself.
Another creative angle used in the development of this project is seen in how the
many pieces used to promote the event tie in together. The name of the program,
flyers, cover letters, releases and the logo all manage to convey the same
themes. These themes include growth, hope and credibility. These creative
strategies are consistent through everything we’ve created. It takes creative
planning and an ability to see the big picture to design such pieces in a
connected and unified way. Another creative aspect of the program is the
presentation of the material and the overall approach. The event takes place over
five days. Each day highlights a different writing discipline. This method
will be extremely beneficial to the 20 students taking part in the event. By having
a whole day (roughly four hours after lunch time is taken out), students will have
adequate time to grasp a general feel of the different writing areas while not
feeling bewildered with informational overload. Also, this approach makes things
much more fun. Every day is something different with different presenters and
different tasks. The set up of the Write-Link is one that is not only beneficial but
also fun and entertaining.
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