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Student Kairos Place

Student Kairos Place is a week-long gathering of EMU undergraduate writers in May. During this retreat time, students refine writing projects that they worked on during the school year. In a peaceful mountain lodge, they have time to research, revise, dream, go for walks, cook, and check in with each other. Kairos Place is usually led by EMU faculty Judy Mullet and Kirsten Beachy with input from Chad Gusler and other faculty members.

Students have used the time to start or continue work on senior thesis writing projects, prepare material for conference presentations, work on scripts for theater shows, develop teaching curriculum, and prepare collaborative work for publication. Nels Akerson and Judy Mullet worked together on “Healing the Past Through Story”, published in the journal Adult Learning.  In 2017, Nicole Litwiller and Luke Litwiller produced a collaborative poetry, music, and painting project, "Oscillations" that was presented in Common Grounds and in downtown Harrisonburg at The Lady Jane.  Some Kairos work informs future thinking and writing. For instance, Joel Nofziger’s thoughts behind his 2013 Kairos project evolved into the column, “History Writ Large” published in Pennsylvania Mennonite Heritage in January 2014. ​Madalynn Payne shared her computer science project, an interactive artwork that involved poetry writing, musical composition, coding, and 2-dimensional design, with student in creative writing and music classes at East Hardy High School, her alma mater.


Erin Nafziger: Give yourself the freedom to pursue a passion, project, and/or idea free from restrictions and in a beautiful place!

Jingchuan Wu: It is a great place that you will enjoy to work in here. Most importantly, it is free!

Kaitlin Abrahams: A week of writing, cooking, reading, relaxing, and hanging out with other writers in a luxurious woodland cabin for free! Who could say no to that?

Stephanie Toth: Student Kairos Place is a wonderful way to focus on writing projects that need your attention. It was extremely helpful to be out in nature away from distractions to ground yourself, get creative, and write.

Alena Yoder: A relaxing-yet-intense week where you are enabled to work on your brainchild(ren) and still get time to take walks, drink tea, and play games!

Abby Hershberger: SKP is a fantastic opportunity to think, write, and create.

Madalynn Payne: Student Kairos Place is a relaxed environment that allowed me to enjoy my creative process. I had fun sharing my work, getting encouragement and feedback, and experiencing the work of others.

Liesl Graber: At Kairos, you get to slow down, have fun with fellow creatives, and spend a week letting your mind roam while you enjoy the luxury of a cabin/mansion in the woods. It’s a writer’s paradise. Just go.

Students participating, by year:

2011: Nels Akerson, Brent Anders, Sara Beachy, Jossimar Diaz-Castro, Stewart Nafziger, Konrad Swartz. Judy Mullet and Kirsten Beachy, leaders.

2012: Nels Akerson, Michael Bodner, Elizabeth Gannaway, Emily Harnish, Becca Longenecker, Thomas Millary, Lani Prunés, Taylor Weidman. Judy Mullet and Kirsten Beachy, leaders.

2013: Michael Bodner, Brendan Erb, Randi Hagi, Thomas Millary, Joel Nofziger, Krista Nyce, Seth Stauffer, Konrad Swartz. Judy Mullet and Kirsten Beachy, leaders.

2014: Makayla Baker, Brendan Erb, Rachel King, Brooke Laycock, Becca Longenecker, Emily Shank, Kate Swartz, Roberto Wingfield. Judy Mullet with Chad Gusler. Kirsten consulted with students.

2016: Kaitlin Abrahams, Liesl Graber, Abby Hershberber, Erin Nafziger, Madalynn Payne, Stephanie Toth, Jing Wu, Alena Yoder. Judy Mullet and Kirsten Beachy, leaders.

2017: Nicole Litwiller, Luke Litwiller, Justine Nolt, Bethannie Parks, Robert Propst, Kathryn Simmons.

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