Peer Academic Support Network, Writing Center move to Sawyer

Devika Goel

The Peer Academic Support Network (PASN) and the Writing Center have recently moved from the Paresky Center’s second floor to the fourth floor of Sawyer Library. (Devika Goel/The Williams Record)

In the days before video streaming, Sawyer 431, then called the media viewing room, was the place students would visit to play CDs and DVDs. Now, it is home to the Peer Academic Support Network (PASN).

This change comes as part of the recent move of PASN and the Writing Center from the Paresky Center’s second floor to the fourth floor of Sawyer Library.

Interim Director of the Writing Center Julia Munemo said that the main goal of the move is to place the tutoring services in locations students frequent to do academic work. “The primary goal was really locating us in the place where students are when they are having questions about how to write and how to excel in their classes,” she said. “So to house us in the place where we can collaborate with Research Services and IT services… has really helped us be more accessible to students.”

According to Director of Quantitative Skills Programs and Peer Support Laura Muller, the move has accomplished the dual goals of giving students a bigger, distraction-free space to tutor and study as well as providing PASN with a cohesive identity. “Our offices didn’t really allow for tutoring to take place near them, and before the pandemic, students were tutoring … all over the place,” she said. “As a result, we felt like [the] Peer Academic Support Network didn’t have an identity because it didn’t have a space to go with it. We also realized that tutoring in public places is wonderful, but it can also be noisy, so we wanted someplace quiet.”

Munemo mentioned that the Writing Center has also expanded to Schow Science Library as part of the move. “We’re really partnering with both libraries, and … it’s for the same reason — to have people who can help with writing across the disciplines be available where the students are doing the writing,” she said.

PASN also maintains a presence in Schow as it continues to operate from the two spaces it occupied before the pandemic — the Math & Science Resource Center in Schow Library and the Economics Resource Center in Schapiro Hall. This year, PASN is also offering Zoom hours under a hybrid tutoring system in which some tutors are available on Zoom and some tutors are available in person.

For Munemo, being present in the same location as the Writing Center means better contact with writing tutors. “Downstairs is the writing workshop, and my tutors have always been in Sawyer, so when I had my office in Paresky, I was very detached from them,” she said. “To be able to be much closer to them means that I can have much more regular contact with them.”

Both Munemo and Muller said that they are happy to be in places that allow them to interact with students more often. “I think it’s nice to be able to walk outside your office and be able to talk to students, and that did not happen in the old space,” Muller said.