Over the course of the project, I also produced some documents that did not reach nearly as many people, but were equally as important: thank you letters. These served the role of showing appreciation for those our ENGL 306 class collaborated with throughout the semester. Not only did these individuals provide essential insights, but also helped to show the importance of our work in a bigger picture sense. In any professional setting, thank you letters are important to create lasting connections and establish fruitful partnerships. Keeping that in mind, we included thank you letters as a necessary and productive area of our project.
I wrote two thank you letters on behalf of the students of ENGL 306, both to community members who offered guidance to our class. The first was addressed to Margaret Franchino, the director of BCCG. Early on in the semester, she came into our class to discuss the background of the program, and what our project would mean for it moving forward. She really helped to give meaning to our work and personally made me feel more invested in the class. My initial draft for this letter was combined with another class member’s before being finalized and sent out to Margaret.
The second letter was sent to community organizer and graphic designer, Bethany Thier. I worked closely with Bethany throughout the semester on the social media campaign specifically, and her guidance really helped the project to flourish in that area. She also attended several classes where she acted as a liaison to the FCG Endowment Team and helped out other student groups working on the fundraiser.
Within both of these letters, I practiced concision. This tool was important because thank you letters are typically around a page in length. Knowing this, it was necessary for me to embody my class’s wholehearted thanks in a short period of time while also addressing all of the beneficial work that these community members did. Dr. Scheler provided me with feedback on Bethany’s letter in order to help me in this area. He let me know where information could be cut and expanded on so that I would make the most use of my space.
In additional feedback, he also applauded me for my use of audience recognition. This tool was essential for writing the letters because I had to be aware of my audience when choosing what tone to use. In both cases, I was fairly familiar with the letter recipients, so my letters took on a slightly less formal tone. Also, keeping in mind the thank you letter genre, I was aware that my sincerity needed to shine through. To do this, I maintained a balance between formality and familiarity while also giving concrete examples of the ways that our class was helped as a result of their involvement. The finalized copy was then put onto official St. Norbert College letterhead and sent out to Bethany.
I truly enjoyed writing both of these letters because they brought closure to the great work that I did as part of ENGL 306. Through them, I was able to reflect upon the help I had received and felt great about the opportunity to give credit for the success that the entire class achieved on the fundraiser.