This writing space has been developed as a public forum for the citizen writers in writing courses taught by Zapoura Newton-Calvert at Portland Community College and Marylhurst University.  In this forum, “citizen” represents membership in a community rather than a legal status.

Newton-Calvert’s writing courses have been designed with a connection between students and the community. In service learning courses, instructors believe that education goes hand-in-hand with community responsibility. And a persuasive writing class is a perfect place to explore that connection. Working in the community (either face-to-face or virtually) deepens and
contextualizes the course learning of students in these writing courses  in powerful ways while simultaneously benefiting the community.

The research and writing collections here are based on the following community themes chosen by students who have both worked in the community and written within these themes throughout the term:

    • Education
    • Animals
    • Arts & Culture
    • Families & Family Services
    • The Environment
    • Health & Wellness
    • Resource Abundance/Scarcity
    • Immigration & Global Citizenry
    • Technology
    • The School Community
    • Your Neighborhood

The research and writing collections posted here are specifically designed to allow students to explore a research question within their theme through building a collection of research sources (a mini-library for becoming more knowledgeable on the research question) and performing a piece of public writing (a letter, blog comments, etc.).



  1. Mark Hedgepeth

    Hi, my name is Mark H. I am a student at PCC, working towards a minor in general studies. I do not know at this present time what my major will be.
    My theme for this writing term is families and family services. It is very important to me because I was a single dad for many years, and had struggled to just provide the basic needs for my family. What I mean about basic needs is: shelter, food and heat. Those things by many people are taken for granted, but when you live off minimum wage you have to make sacrifices, such as: do I pay the rent this month or put food on the table or pay the electric bill for heat. So, I chose my community partner to be Habitat for Humanity and the Oregon Food Bank. The links to the organization’s website are: http://www.habitatportlandmetro.org and http://www.oregonfoodbank.org.
    My learning question regarding my theme would be if we are one of the richest countries in the world then why can’t we provide the basic needs for our low income, homeless and elderly? Why should we bomb one country, spend our resources to rebuild their country when our own homeland has so much suffering?

  2. My Bio:

    Hello everyone my name is Anna Verdun and my major is RN

    the theme I have chosen is education, this is a area of interest to me because education plays a big part of my life and my children’s life. As a parent volunteering in a school and giving to the community is a great opportunity to not only have with my children but also to learn more about the educational system and how our children are learning today for example what do they need for graduation, the standards, testing and expectations.

    I will be volunteering my time in a fourth grade classroom, and I hope to be helping with small group instruction in the class primarily reading groups.

    The website is http://www.sherwoodschooldistrict.com

    The tree questions or things I would like to learn and have answered about the community and education are as follows:

    1. What does the school have to offer to children who may be struggling in a certain area of education?

    2. What are the testing guidelines and scores if the district as a whole and for the school I am volunteering in?

    3. What tools/observations do teachers use when taking into consideration placements of students in small groups for learning?


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