By JASE BRANDT, reporter
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018
Friday night the English Blend held a chocolate fondue event at Dr. Mark and Laurel Watneys’ house where students and faculty alike shared their favorite literary works.
It was the English Blend’s first event of the 2018-19 academic year. To start things off, the attendees enjoyed chocolate fondue inside the Watney home while they socialized among themselves. This was followed by a campfire outside where everyone introduced themselves and shared some of their favorite writings. This included literature, poems, song lyrics and other various types of writing.
It is a yearly tradition of the Watneys to host the chocolate fondue event in their home and they both look forward to it every year.
“I love the chance to get to know people outside of the college,” Laurel said. “You learn things about people that you otherwise wouldn’t. Not too many people here were English majors. But they all had a love for beauty, and they all had a love for communicating and wanting to share. And I thought that was really cool.”
Unlike English Blend events in the past, the chocolate fondue event was open to all students and not just English Blend club members. Jesse Sheppard, the president of the English Blend, is working hard to welcome all students to join the English Blend events.
“We’re hoping we’ll get some more people to show up this year. I know last year we had a few issues like communicating it to the people,” he said. “We want to try to develop better events and have more people show up. And this year we’re focusing on developing that. We’re trying to have people who aren’t necessarily English people. We’re trying to take it away from just a Language and Literature Department event. We want it to be more inclusive to everyone on campus.”
This is one of the main reasons senior Kaitlynn Little joined the English Blend her sophomore year. She was looking for a strong group she could belong with.
“I’ve always felt safe there,” she said. “I think it’s very hard to be fake there or to feel the need to be something you’re not. You don’t have to be perfect or something like that. You’re actually talking about things that are important to you. And you’re trying to help others grow as well. You can’t really be fake about that. And I just really appreciate that.”
The English Blend is currently composed of four members: sophomore Jesse Sheppard as the president, sophomore John Mayo as both the vice president and secretary, senior Kaitlynn Little as the treasurer, and sophomore Bailey Gorges as the publicist.
Dr. Watney is a Language & Literature professor at Sterling College. He has a Ph.D. in Humanities (Literary Studies), a MA in English Literature and a BA in Social Science. His wife Laurel has earned a BA in Biblical Studies and a MA in Human Services. She began working in the Mabee Library in 2011 and became Director in 2017.
The next English Blend event is planned to be a Scary Story Time in Cornerstone on Oct. 29.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Sept. 20, 2018, to correctly identify when Laurel Watney became the library director. A previous version of this story said it was in 2011. We apologize for the error.