BU Book & Ink fills extracurricular void for readers, writers

Gasps and laughter turn the confines of a classroom in the College of Arts and Sciences into a warm, inviting environment where students passionately discuss literature.

This isn’t your English professor’s discussion — this is BU Book & Ink, Boston University’s newest club aimed at readers and writers seeking a literature community outside of the classroom.

Members of the Boston University Book & Ink club (BUBI) at a meeting on Friday. BUBI is a new organization on campus for readers and writers that was formed after president Seheni Kariyawasan noticed a lack of book clubs at BU. ZARA MEGGETT/ DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

BUBI has been a long time coming, according to the club’s president Seheni Kariyawasan, a junior in CAS, who first conceived the idea for a book club in her freshman year.

“There isn’t a club specifically for writers and readers,” Kariyawasan said. “I wanted to create that because that’s something I would have really loved to have [when I first came to] BU.”

It turned out that many other BU students have been searching for a similar experience. BUBI’s first general interest meeting saw an unprecedented turnout, with the 60-person classroom unable to seat everyone who attended, Kariyawasan said.

The club’s success must have been cathartic after what Grace Draghi, the club’s secretary and a senior in CAS, said was a long and stressful application process.

“[BU] initially denied us and said that there were other reading and writing clubs on campus,” Draghi explained. “We had to reach out to them … and tell them, this is something people want. There’s not anything specifically like a book club or writing club on campus, and then after that they did approve the club.”

It was clear to Kariyawasan that BUBI is something people wanted. She said around 200 people signed up for the club’s mailing list at SPLASH. According to Draghi, that number has already grown to over 300.

But the success of BUBI does not undermine the intimate yet casual book club experience that draws in its members. The meetings, which have been held on either Tuesday or Friday nights, remain relatively small, as most club members don’t attend all of them. Instead, the club offers a variety of features that allow members to tailor their experience however they like.

Kariyawasan said members have a say on the club’s events and offerings.

“A lot of what we do is based on community feedback,” she said. “We’re still at the stage where we’re figuring out what we want to do as a club.”

While members’ input is vital to the club’s success, the officers’ labor has been equally important in getting the club off the ground. In fact, their passion for literature drives the club — this is something they’ve always wanted at BU, and they’re intent on doing it right.

For writers, the club offers Draft Nights, where members can meet and share their work. Additionally, the club’s website provides resources to help writers stay organized and work toward becoming published.

For readers, BUBI hosts book clubs. Every month, club members vote for two books that they would want to read. Once the books are selected, members choose one to read and attend the meetings for that specific book.

October’s books were “The Midnight Library” by Matt Haig and “The Secret History” by Donna Tartt. The club held its final discussion on the latter on Oct. 27, closing out the October books and ending the first cycle of books for BUBI.

Members will vote on next month’s books during the first week of November, Kariyawasan said.

Book club is not all that’s in store for BUBI. Kariyawasan said the club is looking to collaborate with other student organizations at BU, and she aspires to extend collaborations beyond the University.

“I would really love to have some [professional] writers come in, and maybe even partner with independent bookstores around Boston,” Kariyawasan added.

BUBI’s commitment to fostering an open, inviting atmosphere is one of the reasons it entices students in all disciplines at BU, said Daniel Cui, a junior in CAS.

“I’m a STEM major, so I don’t really encounter a lot of writing or English-related things very often,” said Cui, who joined BUBI with encouragement from his friends on the club’s board. For Cui and other students, BUBI offers a chance to meet other readers and writers without taking an English class.

Interestingly enough, none of the club’s four officers are English majors, either. But for Draghi, this fact demonstrates one of the club’s main tenets: it’s open to everybody.

“It shows that you can have this as a hobby,” Draghi said. “We want it to be very casual, and anybody can join, regardless of what their major is [or] what they’re doing in college.”

More Articles

Comments are closed.