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WIU-QC to Host the Sixth Annual GET LIT April 4

Western Illinois University Interdisciplinary English and Arts Society (IDEAS) will host the sixth annual GET LIT Writing and Art Contest from 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4 on the Quad Cities campus in the QC Complex C Atrium. Last year, more than 60 local area high school students and teachers from six Quad City area high schools were in attendance.

“GET LIT provides a space for high school students to see their art's impact on their peers and community. Some of these students leave with newfound confidence and for the first time consider that this could be their degree and career. Others leave with a passion for the craft that will stay with them their entire lives,” IDEAS President and Senior English major Abbey Jones said.

Area students will have the opportunity to read poems and short stories at an open mic and display their paintings, sculptures and other visual work. Additionally, students can ask questions about college life to a panel of current students.

“What keeps me, the IDEAS officers and everyone else doing this is pretty simple,” said English Professor Everett Hamner, IDEAS faculty advisor. “We see how much it means to many of these students. Many high schoolers have opportunities to demonstrate passion and skill in athletics and fine arts, which we love too. But wordsmiths and imageshapers can lack such outlets, and it’s a privilege to offer one.”

Along with its literature and art focuses the event aims to be one more opportunity for high school students to discover new interests. As such, it also provides the chance to visit actual college classes in progress. In the past, these have often included courses in composition and literature, sociology and psychology; this year's plans include courses in art history and communication, as well as a tour demonstration in the QC campus engineering labs.

The contest features three formal categories: poems; short stories and longer written compositions, including screenplays, and images, including painting, graphic design and photography. In addition, student submissions will be able to compete in three thematic categories, including Gender and Sexuality, Race and Class, and a new category this year, Possible Tomorrows. The latter invites students to imagine near-term futures, whether for themselves individually, their families or communities, the QC region or more global contexts.

Prizes will be awarded to three students in all of the six categories. The normal structure – with occasional small adjustments that judges believe merited – means that 18 total awards will be distributed. Most often, first-place winners receive $50 gift cards, second place receive $40 gift cards, and third place receive $30.

Previous high school participants have included students from Bettendorf, Maquoketa, Moline, North Scott, United Township, Orion, Rock Island and Riverdale. Hamner notes, “We look forward to continuing to grow this event in both quality and size, and we look forward to partnering with more high school teachers. This couldn’t happen without them.”

Thanks to generous support from the WIU-QC Student Government Association and the Office of Student Activities, a light breakfast and full lunch will be provided to all attendees.

The deadline to submit writing and art projects is 11:59 p.m., Thursday, March 28. For more information and to submit, visit For questions about the event, email IDEAS at or Hamner at

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