Matt Nickerson ’24
As a way to say “happy holidays” from Sigma Tau Delta, the school’s English Honors Society, is hosting a Winter Literature Exchange. Shortly before noon on December 2nd, all English majors received an email message sent from Elise Saad, the Academic Administrative Assistant of the English Department, informing them of the details on the Exchange. The Literature Exchange is one of several proposed activities by members of the society to foster interest in writing, literature, and language amongst the wider Holy Cross campus, and honor the values of Sigma Tau Delta. As a description on Sigma Tau Delta’s official website reads, “Members of every chapter have the opportunity to share their love of literature and linguistics with like-minded peers, [and] participate in rewarding activities.” The numerous college and university chapters spanning the entire world (approximately 875, to give a more precise number) engage in similar activities annually, and for the Holy Cross chapter specifically, the Winter Literature Exchange is an activity that has been practiced in the past and has proven to be valuable in leading students to engage with their peers as well as with authors and books they may never have encountered. The roughly month-long Christmas break can prove, at times, to be an isolating and lonely time for students who are away from their friends at school, and Sigma Tau Delta hopes to help people avoid any of these potential pitfalls with a good book and the knowledge that it was enthusiastically recommended.
Students who wish to participate in the Literature Exchange are granted considerable flexibility in terms of the options they are presented with. They can include any piece of literature, whether it be a book, a short story, or poetry. They can have their selected materials be in physical form, printed out, or linked to a webpage on the Internet and shared online. Once the decisions are reached as to who will swap their selections with who, students are also granted the option to send their material through the postal service to a student’s home, sent virtually to an email inbox, or shared physically before students depart for the holiday break. A Google Form, included as a link in the email from Professor Saad: https://forms.gle/eykgxJa1SSzPGNYM7 has questions detailing the various manners in which students can go about the activity: giving students the options to include their home addresses, their email addresses, online links, specific genres they hold interest in, etc. Once the deadline for responding to the From has passed, Sigma Tau Delta members will diligently wade through the results and sort out which participants will receive which materials, closely adhering to the preferred genres and delivery options each student lists. Participants will then be notified of the literature they are to receive, and the various forms of exchange will begin!
Students are able to add responses to the Google Form until Tuesday, December 13th, and shortly thereafter respondents will be notified of the material they are to receive. The event has been met with eagerness from faculty and student members of Sigma Tau Delta, well aware of the history of the literature exchange from years past. Professor Hayley Stefan, a faculty head of the college’s chapter, writes, “I’m so eager to hear what folks are sharing!” Indeed, we hope that participants are able to exchange with an array of authors and pieces of literature of differing genres, eras, and settings. Happy reading, everyone!