When Creativity Knocks, Let L3 Answer

March 26, 2009
By: Astrid Sambolín

 L3 will host First Annual Creative Writing Contest

L3 will host First Annual Creative Writing Contest

If you write funny, entertaining or inspirational work you’d like to share, the Linguistics, Literature and Language Society (L3) invites you to participate in its First Annual Creative Writing Contest. The contest is open to all students of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM). “We hope to give students a venue to publish their work and get serious about writing, getting them excited about contests and such,” explained Adriana Caraballo Madera, Editor-in-Chief of the Literature Sector of L3.

Have a short story you wrote a couple of years back gathering dust in your bookshelf? Wrote a poem in a notebook you used for your pre-calculus class a year ago? It’s all fair game! You should hurry and dig it up, though; the deadline for submissions is April 1, 2009.

The rules are simple: Submissions must consist of original work such as poems, short stories, personal essays, graphic novels, etc. Research papers or other work that requires bibliographies do not qualify. All entries must be submitted as Microsoft Office documents and follow MLA rules. Professors of the English department and L3 officials will select the winner and make the announcement on April 15, 2009.

The winning entry will be featured in L3’s newsletter “Language Connection.” In addition, it will be automatically entered in the First Annual Writing Festival to be held in May, at the Amphitheater (UPRM). The Writing Festival, hosted by L3 with the collaboration of the English Department Student Association (EDSA), will be an opportunity for writers to present their work to a larger audience.

Submissions should be sent via e-mail to any of the following: adriana.caraballo@upr.edu, angel.matos@upr.edu,

The First Annual Creative Writing Contest is part of an ongoing effort to attract students from different faculties and promote literary pursuits at UPRM. According to L3’s Facebook page , one of the organization’s goals is to “promote and teach the uses and particularities of linguistics, literature, and language throughout the campus and among many other majors besides English.”

L3 officer and English major Heri Albertorio is coordinating the activity. Albertorio explained that the idea for the contest stemmed from the activities other departments host to show students’ work. Biology, chemistry and engineering majors get a chance to showcase their research; why couldn’t English writers have the same chance to present their work? “Being that this is a ‘science heavy’ university, us English majors don’t really get to shine that much. So, this activity is our own way of getting our ideas out there and be appreciated by everyone else,” explained Albertorio.

The festival will provide the opportunity for the participants to show their work as they please. Students get the chance to explore the possibilities and present what they wrote just as it was intended. Of course, the more creative students get, the better the activity will be. A person submitting a poem can wear a costume if he or she chooses. If the entry is a play, the author can narrate while others act out the scenes. As Albertorio excitedly pointed out, “the possibilities are limitless!”

So far, student participation has been low-key. Since this is the first edition of the contest, students are wary and the organization is still learning the ropes. Albertorio remains optimistic, though. “I’m sure as soon as the proper advertisement of the activity is done, more students will mount up the courage to actually participate,” he concluded.

Albertorio plans on submitting some of his own work, a short story he wrote a year ago.

Coordinating an event is bound to bring challenges; an event that is created for the first time must surely face even more obstacles. However, the English Department faculty has proved to be very supportive of the event. Albertorio pointed out that professors are more than willing to help.

L3 is a student organization housed in the English Department. It welcomes students of any faculty, as long as they are passionate about literature and/or linguistics and enjoy working with other students.

As part of its commitment, L3 provides free monthly workshops relating to literature and linguistics, open to students from all majors.


An Hour at the English Department

by Félix G. Rijos

Would you like to spend an hour of your life in the lobby of your department to observe if anything interesting happens there?

That seems like a rhetorical question, doesn’t it? What would a student do for an hour in his or her department’s lobby? There’s nothing to observe! ll we’d see is random professors going in to pick up their mail and stop for 5 seconds on their way out to ask the secretary how she’s been. Maybe once in a while we’d see one or two students come in and ask some questions themselves. Doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? This is true in most departments.

Then again, the English Department isn’t like most of the departments here in University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus.

I spent an hour sitting at the lobby of the UPRM English Department, which is located on the 3rd floor of the Chardón building. The first thing one notices while spending an extended amount of time there is that there’s always something going on. You can tell that there’s never a dull moment here. Even English Department director, Dr. Betsy Morales, says that it can get pretty hectic here. Conferences need to be prepared, seocial events need to be planned and organized, students need to be taken care of. Movement, movement, movement.

I don’t mind all the movement at all. In fact, I would say that it is part of the English Department’s charm.

Also charming are the people that work there. I observed the way students were treated when they came in need of something, and they were always treated very politely. Something that caught my attention is the hands-on approach of Dr.Morales. A lot of department directors spend most of their days inside their offices and are rarely seen by students. I don’t think Dr. Morales spent more than 5 minutes in her office while I was there. She was very accessible, very actice and most importantly, very helpful to those that needed her.

After this experience, I can say for sure that the UPRM English Department is quite different from most of the other departments.

That is a very, very good thing.

A Brief Introduction to Surfrider Foundation

Preliminary Interview with Nathan Clark: Intern with Surfrider Foundation Rincón Chapter

By: Carsen Ott

CO: How did you first hear about Surfrider Foundation?

NC: I first heard about Surfrider when I was going to the University of Minnesota. One of my advisors told me about an internship opportunity here in Puerto Rico and I decided to look into it because it sounded like something I would be interested in.

CO: What made you want to get involved?

NC: After my advisor told me about the foundation I looked it up on the internet right away.  Their activism is very apparent as they have 60 active chapters all over the US.

CO: What is the main goal of Surfrider Foundation here in Puerto Rico as well as other chapters around the United States?

NC: To raise environmental awareness and get people involved.  The exact mission of the foundation is that we are a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.

CO: What kind of projects does Surfrider Foundation conduct?

NC: We have paddle-outs, potlucks, water testing, monthly meetings, and beach clean ups.

CO: Have you had large turnouts for the beach cleaning?

NC: Every beach clean up we get more and more people from the community showing up.  We get people to sign up with their email addresses at meetings and the clean ups so they get reminders of all of the events we put on and results we get from the water testing.  They’re all really fun and we want more people to start coming!

CO: What kind of results have you found with the water testing?

NC: It’s pretty scary actually.  I surf and some of the results even make me not want to get into the water.  There is really high fecal contamination on a lot of the beaches in Puerto Rico because sanitation just shoots all of its waste out into the sea and the currents drag it around and even into the beaches where we all swim. 

CO: Who else would you like to see get involved?

NC: It would be really great to see more native Puerto Ricans become involved.  Because our headquarters is located in Rincón, and Rincón is really Americanized, we don’t always have a lot of native Puerto Ricans who are interested in our projects.  Students are another group we’d like to tap for more participation and volunteerism. 

CO: As a non-profit, what is the biggest need of the foundation?

NC: We are in extreme need of donations right now.  Because of the high cost of water testing – it’s $15 dollars to process each sample and we have to test at least 6 at a time (and this doesn’t include the cost of any of the other supplies) – our funds have been running really low.  And this is one of the most important projects that Surfrider is doing right now.  But besides that, volunteers are always a great help in everything that Surfrider does.

Our Spring 09 Blogporting Team

Our team began training on a  historic day we are all likely to remember for our lifetime.  We will recall the event itself, the inauguration of Mr.  Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th president of the United States, through the images and sounds, words and snapshots, statistics and anecdotes that the media flashed before us on that memorable day: January 20, 2009.

Given this synchrony, we think it is appropriate that as we introduce ourselves, we also let you know what we felt, reasoned, fantasized or hoped for on that historic day.

Feel free to leave us comments if you would also like to share your memories and reflections on Jan. 20, 2009.

Me and My Opinion about Barack Obama

By: Edmee M. Cortés Valle

At first when Barack Obama was elected by his party to be the democratic candidate for the Presidential seat of the US the situation didn’t catch my attention. Today I see it as a real, definite, and official change in the history of the United States of America and Puerto Rico. It can also be a significant transition to the perspective, tolerance and even support of the Caucasian-Americans and the rest of the world. An African-American, whose father was an African immigrant, who was born in Hawaii and has lived in Indonesia and around the USA, and has different religious and cultural background. Obama is the first president with these diverse and uncommon personal history and I hope not the last.

It was especially significant for the African-American community the day Barack Obama was officially installed as the USA president because it is the day after the annual commemoration of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. It is almost shameful to say that it took 43 presidents of the USA so that a difference could take place in the most powerful nation. In my opinion, the fact that there is already a black president gives hope to many different aspects of the USA. I am optimistic that this president will do well in leading the USA nation.

A Big Change

Why Barack Obama’s presidency is important for me?

By: Pedro Julio (PJ) Vázquez Bragan

I was born in the Bronx, New York on August 5, 1989. My father, Wilfredo Vazquez, was doing his residence on gastroenterology. He wasn’t a fluent English speaker and he use to tell me that he wanted to move back to Puerto Rico, because he wasn’t treated equally there. In 1993, I moved to Ponce, Puerto Rico, where I have lived ever since. I studied in Caribbean School. Where I learned to speak Spanish and English; play volleyball, basketball; and even learned how to sing. Now I am 19 years old, a junior, studying at the University of Puerto Rico.

In my university years I have grown and have asked myself many questions. Seeing how Puerto Rico has a variety of different people, I ask questions like, why do people treat each other differently because of their skin color? Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, has an extraordinary effect in every continent. For me personally, I think that this is a great achievement, knowing that 40 years ago black people could not marry white people in the South of the U.S. It also makes me believe that humanity can get better, instead of worsening, because, people will see how the color of the skin has no influence on how you think, how you respond, how you love, or how you cry. It is just a physical aspect that shouldn’t be used to judge a person, and I hope Barack Obama’s presidency teaches everybody a little bit about life, because everybody is equal.

About Me…its easy!!


By: Chloris Juarbe Ríos

 I’m a very social person who’s into education, technology and sports.  I’m 18 years old and this is my second year in college here at el “Colegio de Mayagüez.” I used to go to a bilingual school in Aguadilla, my hometown, called Carib Christian School where I studied from kindergarten through 11th grade.  I completed my senior year at Instituto de Cumbres in Carolina, P.R.  I also went to an art school here in P.R. named Centro de Adiestramiento de Bellas Artes (C.A.B.A.).  I like drama and theatre and pretty much everything that has to do with acting, but my real passion is softball. I’ve been playing softball since I was about 10 years old. It was my dream to come here and play for “el Colegio,” which is what I currently do.  I’m interested in many other things and I chose this class because I figure it will be productive for me at the end of the course considering that I am majoring in Business Administration.  Though I am not very interested in politics, I must admit that it is something that we must all pay attention to on a daily basis because it is directly related to decisions that might change our way of life.

The most recent situation in politics was the election of the new president of the United States, Barak Hussein Obama. He will now be the 44th president of the U.S. and, though I am not interested in politics, this is a historical moment that our generation gets to live by and witness. The new presidency affects us all, because even though we would like things to be different these days, racial differences are a matter to be discussed in this generation. We have now seen history in the making as the first black president of the United States has been elected and is about to show what he has to offer.