Literary Coffeehouse: The Inspiration and Connection between Literary Fans

Written by Phuong (Kim) Pham

On February 5, 2018, the ACC Creative Writing Department welcomed everybody to their monthly gathering, Literacy Coffeehouse, at the Malvern Books bookstore. The open mic event, hosted by John Herndon, is an opportunity for literature lovers to share their passions, or just simply enjoy their time with the literary community.

The evening started off with cookies to welcome the attendees and the writers discussing their work. After that, the readers began sharing their literary works onstage. One of the hosts, David Thornberry, enlightened everyone with his piece about Stephen Hawking’s disease called “Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,” which he described in his poem as a “thumb” that “belong to the universe,” a very interesting metaphor. This month’s featured reader was Emilee Araujo, an aspiring screenwriter and Creative Writing major at ACC. Emilee brought out many of her works to the audience, including her screenplay and poems. She also captured the audience by reading her first flash fiction, “Lemonade,” in which she shared a story about her immigrant dad.

Readers, who came from different ages and different backgrounds, were connected through their love of literature Everyone was very open-minded and comfortable sharing their stories in various ways. One of the readers, Heidi Juel, who is also an English teacher at ACC Cypress Creek, shared: “Anybody can come in, and you can see they read plays, poetry, fictions and memoirs… pretty much anything.” As this was the second time Mrs. Juel had been to the gathering, she loved the environment that the event was giving. “It’s a good environment if you’ve never done this before, you just take a deep breath, or whatever works for you, look at what you wrote and pretend that nobody’s out there,” she said. “It’s a small group, everybody’s here because they like what they’re doing.”

Literary Coffeehouse is one of many activities hosted by the ACC Creative Writing Department. It opens around the first two weeks of every month. Next month, the event will be on March 5th at 7 p.m. at Malvern Books. Every student of ACC is encouraged to join, either listen or share the literary works.literary coffee house 2

International Students

Written and photos by Phuong Kim Pham

WCO Organization community service
World Community Club doing community service work.

The number one transfer college in Texas, ACC is not only a college for Texans, but students all over the world. International students contribute to the school’s development and diversity with the increase of 1.38% district-wide from 2013 to 2017, according to ACC’s 2016-2017 Fact Book. The increase shows that international students consider ACC to be a valuable institution, leading to greater demand for ACC to enhance their International Student Services.

For academic and language learning, ACC provides more than 100 areas of study, with credits being transferable to a four-year college. This gives students a variety of choices in majors to pursue.

Anh Vu, a first-year ACC international student, is very pleased with her first college experience. “The school help me find all the credited classes that I need to transfer to a four-year university,” she said. “I was able to learn thoroughly about my major– which is Computer Science – through the advisors.”

ACC also provides English Language Instruction, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) and Intensive English Program (IEP) for international students who wish to enhance their English skills. Porry Chen, a Chinese IEP student, has a good impression of the program: “The classes are fast but very effective,” she shared. “It gives me the opportunity to meet people from other cultures and practice English.” In addition to the English programs, ACC establishes English Composition classes for non-native speaker to create a delightful academic environment for international students. Wandaka, a student from Congo, says he received a lot of helps in the class. “Although the class was hard, I think if I have any trouble with study, the teacher and classmates will help me with it,” he said.

World Community Club organizing bake sale


The problem that international students have with ACC’s service is distance, as the International Student Office (ISO) has only two campus location: Riverside and Round Rock. Vu is one of many international students who choose Northridge to be their main campus. As a first-year ACC student, she had to go to the office four times to get her paperwork done. “It’s pretty upsetting that ACC doesn’t have any office in Northridge, I was really tired having to go [to the ISO] so many times,” Vu shared.

Porry Chen, who studies at Highland campus and Cypress Creek, said, “I don’t have problems going to the office but going by bus does take a very long time.” They all hope that ACC will extend International Student Services to additional campuses in order to save on traveling cost and time.

Regarding co-curricular activities, many international students at ACC find joining clubs and college activities to be unusual. One reason is that their culture stresses education as the priority, and overlooks co-curricular college development. Another reason is that there are not many activities that reach international students. Anh Vu, a student who has spent four years in the United States as an international, shared that she only knew about her club through the international student’s orientation. “You probably have to walk around and try to find other clubs’ information to join, which is very time-consuming and difficult for new international students,” she said.

Being a hard-working student, Anh Vu is also the Secretary of World Community Club (WCC). She likes to spend her free time doing club activities and meeting new people, as she was also an active international high school student in South Carolina. She wants to encourage international students to be open-minded to learn new things. “Joining WCC is not hard, you don’t have to attend to the meetings to join, all you have to do is email us or join the group on MySL and we will send you various events for you through email,” she suggests. “Student Life is also like a helping center for anyone who wants to meet new friends, you can definitely join them.”

international students

Pick this story up in the Spring 2018 Life4U magazine on campus.