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Undergraduate English Association Offers Community and Comradery

By Jessica Schumaker

The day is overcast yet warm, the way Georgia is as it steps forward and back into spring. Myself and a group of students follow Dr. Nancee Reeves as her own personal entourage as she leads us to the Special Collections Library, where she has arranged for the English Undergraduate Association to tour the archives. We meet several more members of the club inside the Library, then curators Paul and Jill take us down to the archives. There, we experience a multitude of wonders: the pleasant cold that preserves the collections, an in-depth discussion of fire-precautions taken in the library, a look at football tickets from the 1929 commencement of Sanford Stadium, and a masterful demonstration of the forklift by Paul. He hovers high above us, and at someone’s request, takes a photo of our club corralled into one of the archive’s narrowed corridors, as we grin in the cold.

UEA in VaultThis is just one of the events that has been planned and executed by the newly resuscitated English Undergraduate Association. Near the end of Fall 2022, Dr. Reeves had asked the English majors within her Utopian Literature class if they would want to be involved in reviving the English Undergraduate Association, whose corpse had cooled in the ground after the last few rounds of graduates. Many of us in the room immediately assented, having felt that there was a lack of undergraduate community within Park Hall. We knew of our fellow English majors, yet there was no single space for us to gather, united with purpose, beyond the classroom. To many, this was the chance to form a true community, where English undergraduate students could share resources, develop camaraderie, and plan their futures beyond the arch together.

So when Spring semester came, that same group of students reconvened, and broke ground on building the new English Undergraduate Association. They held an election, selecting a president, vice-president, and other essential board members, and made a list of goals for the semester. Since then, they have hosted speakers, gathered for icebreakers beyond campus, toured the depths of the Special Collections Library, and, most recently, hosted a poetry reading.

UEA members
EUA members working in the Park Hall library

One of the most important initiatives spearheaded by the Undergraduate English Association was opening a study hall within Park Hall. Prior to this endeavor, many students felt Park Hall lacked community. “I was always self conscious just standing in the halls talking to people. There wasn’t really a space to gather,” says Mann Sy Tha, a junior Comparative Literature and English major. Many English majors felt disconnected from one another, simply because there was no space for them within Park Hall to connect with other English majors.

That changed because of the efforts of the EUA, especially their president, Nina Meier, a rising senior majoring in English. Nina became the president of the EUA “to create a greater community within Park Hall, specifically for English majors.” Despite planning to graduate in the fall, Nina felt like she didn’t know many English majors. “My goal for the UEA is to give the English major that smaller school feel of community, as well as give people the opportunity to meet different professors, go to events, work creatively, and have outlets for their work.” Most of all, she hopes that the UEA will continue after she graduates.

UEA Members Working
UEA president Nina Meier (left), Sarah Reck (center), and your author, Jessica Schumaker (right)

Looking forward, the Undergraduate English Association hopes to expand its study hall hours, plan networking opportunities for English majors, and continue to offer a space for community and camaraderie within Park Hall. You can find them every Tuesday in the English Library in Park Hall at 4PM, likely engaging in spirited discussions about poetry, literature, or reciting prose on top of chairs, in true Dead Poets Society fashion. 


Jessica Schumaker is an English major at UGA and the social media intern for the English department.


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