Library hosts final Saints Scribes event

The smell of Italian spices wafting through the hall at lunchtime was enough for students to explore what was happening in the library. With free pizza and cookies, many students stayed for the rest of the event being hosted. 

On October 14, 2022, the library hosted the final Saints Scribes keynote speaker. These four speakers were able to come to Seward County Community College because of the American Library Association grant received in April of this year. 

The idea of free pizza gathered many students to the library with different choices including sausage, supreme, and classic cheese being offered. The lunch meal was provided by Seward County Community College’s Great Western Dining.

To help boost morale and attendance, history instructor Kevin Gleason and English instructor Amy Thompson offered extra credit points to students who checked in and stayed for the whole event. 

“The goal is to have them start to think of writing. Not just for a class project or even for creative writing. Just in general,” said Cassandra Norin, the library director. 

Norin was enthusiastic to present the final speaker as he was an editor at the New York Times for nine years, and through the showroom he was a part of, received a Pulitzer Prize for a series of articles about the twin tower attacks. 

Steve Wolgast currently worked as a professor at the University of Kansas which allowed him to drive to SCCC. Norin said this was one of the major difficulties when trying to find speakers- getting them to come to Liberal. Many still aren’t traveling or aren’t willing to make the long distance for a small college.

Wolgast directed most of his time to teaching the audience on how to interview properly. Through interviewing, he explained students can obtain information in a nonfiction sense such as for journalism or research. He also listed multiple steps to be a better interviewer. These included being prepared and actively listening. 

Wolgast used his time to teach the audience how to interview someone. When asking interviewee questions, Wolgast said journalists most often use one of the five famous questions- who, what, when, where, and why or how. (Megan Berg )

“One thing is being prepared by having questions written down, but another is listening closely or actively listening. In addition to the questions you’ve prepared, by actively listening you’ll hear what is interesting to your source and you can ask more questions about that sort of thing,” Wolgast said. 

Wolgast kept the audience engaged by consistently interacting with them through different questions and prepared an activity during the middle of the event for the audience to practice active listening and interviewing. A student or instructor turned to the person next to them and

asked about their favorite meal they had eaten in the last week. They had to listen to their response in order to be able to ask them further questions about it. 

Mairsole Lechuga, an associate of science major, enjoyed how Wolgast ended his speech saying, “I enjoyed the social media part he talked about at the end because the generation I’m in is more into that sort of thing. It helps show us how to use it well.” 

Wolgast explained a few statistics about different social media platforms, and the different ways in order to get better traffic to your posts. Social media is the most used form of media Wolgast explained with over 500 million viewers on Instagram and 1.5 billion on Facebook. 

Two students try an activity Wolgast gave the audience where they interviewed each other about a favorite meal. The speaker gave many opportunities for engagement throughout his speech asking multiple questions to the audience.

“There are many details that cause more interaction. 15% of content on Facebook is video. If you really want more interaction, Facebook live gets more than just a recorded video. On Instagram, you have 79% more interaction on posts if a location is mentioned,” Wolgast said.

He mentioned that usage is constantly changing, and what’s going to be popular in the future can be guessed but never truly known. This can be seen as within the last five years, TikTok has raised to one of the top-used social media platforms.

Yisel Ramos, an art major, was wanting to go to a different speaker but couldn’t make it. However, she enjoyed this event. It was very interesting and helped give her expectations and information about specific careers. 

Even though this is the last speaker, Norin said she and the library would like to continue with such events but probably not at the same rate.