English Majors’ Union Rebirth Underway

Five years after the English Majors’ Union had nearly fizzled out of memory, the University of Vermont’s faculty and English students are reviving the union. Under the direction of senior Jane Jarecki and Assistant English professor Todd McGowan the English Majors’ Union (EMU) is getting its wings back in an effort to help and unite the English majors and faculty.

“We want to try and bring the professors and students together,” said Jarecki. “It is going to give the students an opportunity to talk to one another outside of the classroom and have everyone find their place in the department.”

Jarecki has received a very strong response from English students abroad with emails wanting to know more information about EMU and a request to be updated as frequently as possible.

The union itself is treated by the Student Government Association like a club and receives money from the SGA according to a proposal put together at the beginning of the semester. This money will go towards activities for people in the union and for guest speakers to come to UVM.

“I am really hoping to get Jimmy Buffet,” says Jarecki. “A lot of people don’t know that he is one of only three American novelists to win the Pulitzer Prize on fiction and non-fiction, so I think that would be pretty cool.”

Other goals for the EMU involved uniting the English departments from Middlebury, Champlain and St. Michael’s Colleges for a slam of some sort. Such a thing would bring the work and personalities of four different schools all into one place which could provide for a rather interesting night.

The idea of the EMU first began in 1998 when the then senior, Dawn Pelkey, got together English majors who decided to put together a literary magazine called EMU. The first year they only produced two issues due to lack of submissions to the magazine and time constraints. With money from the English Department and the SGA Pelkey collaborated with the International Study Committee to bring in international speakers informing students on career paths and possibilities after the University of Vermont.

The EMU literary magazine is also high on Jarecki’s agenda when the union gets to full speed. This would give a forum and a medium for aspiring writer and a chance for many to show off what they are capable outside of the classroom.

Post-UVM discussion and potential will also be addressed at the EMU. Jarecki sees the EMU as a great place to plan for the next step. “This will be a great low commitment resume builder for a lot of people and a chance to think about some post-grad options.”