Creative Writing and English majors may serve on the editorial staff of a prestigious international literary journal, Lake Effect, which provides them an advantage in both the job and the graduate program markets. The student staff of Lake Effect selects and edits work submitted by writers and translators from around the world. Work originally published in Lake Effect has been acknowledged and reprinted in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Essays, and the Pushcart Prize anthology. Students who earn the positions of genre editors attend the annual conference of AWP, the professional organization for creative writing in this country. Along with staffing the Lake Effect table at the largest annual book fair in North America, they have the opportunity to network with editors of other journals and presses, as well as attend panel sessions and readings by some of the most important writers in this country. This is a very rare opportunity for undergraduate students.
Many English majors write for and edit the college’s weekly student newspaper, The Behrend Beacon, and its accompanying web page. The Beacon circulates 2,000 free copies every Tuesday afternoon during the regular academic year to over 20 locations across campus and the Erie area. The Beacon is one of the largest student led organizations on campus and has been honored with several awards including the “Best Student Organization” and “Most Creative Program” awards for 2010. The Beacon is a member of the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association as well as the Associated Collegiate Press.
Involvement in The Beacon helps students to understand the journalistic style of writing and allows an opportunity for those students to learn how a newspaper functions by today’s media standards. There are between 12-15 editors who are responsible for the layout of the newspaper and for assigning stories to writers, assigning photographers to events, and editing all content that goes into print and on the web. There are about 40 additional writers and photographers who also work for the paper. All of these people are coordinated by a student Editor-in-Chief that is chosen by The Beacon advisory board consisting of the Director of Student Affairs, the Director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, and the advisor for the paper.
Roundtable Society is a student-led organization dedicated to the arts, including film, theater, and creative writing. The Roundtable Society sponsors readings, discussions, theater excursions, and annual events such as the Cold Turkey Reading, an open mic with post-Thanksgiving-Day refreshments, and The Evening of Dubious Taste, another open mic that revels in bad literature, music, film, fashion, and food. Every spring the group publishes a collection of student works titled Three Bad Names.