ICUCOW, formerly the Illinois College Writing Across the Curriculum Conference (ICUWACC), was first held in Spring 1998. It is sponsored by the Illinois College Campus Writing Center in order to help writers of all levels and disciplines feel welcome. Since its opening in 1995, the Writing Center has always been a center for achieving excellence rather than simply a refuge for remedial writers. For this reason, the Center helps host open mic nights, Meet the Writer sessions, and its very own writing conference. Every Spring, the Writing Center reserves a classroom in Kirby Hall and invites the community to read, listen, and share in the year's submissions.
The first participants in the Illinois College Undergraduate Writing Across the Curriculum Conference.
A call for papers is posted by the spring semester every school year, and papers are collected at the end of the submission period (usually a little more than a month). At this time, the active Writing Center consultants and apprentices read over each submission using a "blind review" process (authors' names and identifying information having been removed by one member). The staff votes on which papers to include based on quality, coherence, length, correctness in grammar, and the balance of submissions overall. For papers chosen for ICUCOW, the staff contacts the writers regarding revision sessions. The night of the conference, the authors present or read their papers in front of an audience of their peers and the public, with refreshments and discussion available before and after the readings. Selected ICUCOW submissions are printed in a book of proceedings which are free and available during the conference as well as at the Writing Center.
In the vein of liberal arts, any student from any major may submit to ICUCOW because the conference is meant to celebrate writing in all fields across the entire curriculum. All topics are considered as well. The conference is not just for creative writing; good writing knows no boundaries, and good writing always comes first when it comes to ICUCOW.
Writing is best done with an audience in mind; having a clear audience gives more meaning to a piece. With ICUCOW, readers are given the chance to write and present to a real, live, diverse audience. With ICUCOW, we are striving to prove that writing matters!