The Writing Center’s Midnight Madness at College Library

Uncategorized / Friday, May 4th, 2018

By Rick Ness—

Rick Ness is TA Co-coordinator of the Writing Center and a Ph.D. candidate in the Literary Studies program.

What is Midnight Madness? Midnight Madness is an all-night tutoring event for undergraduates inspired by “The Long Night Against Procrastination.” This mad event offers one-on-one writing instruction from 6pm to 1am. Midnight Madness is hosted by the Writing Center in collaboration with Steve Frye and our good friends at College Library, UW-Madison’s library for undergraduates. We want to thank College Library for providing the space and lots of logistical support. The purpose of Midnight Madness is to provide extra tutoring support for undergrads at the end of the semester when deadlines and due dates are looming large. Brad Hughes, director of the Writing Center, had been entertaining the idea of an all-night tutoring event for a couple years.  We finally decided to go for it this year, and we’re glad we did because it turned out to be a big success, thanks in no small measure to Jen Fandel’s excellent posters and promotional efforts.


The first ever Midnight Madness was in December 2017 in conjunction with “The International Write-In,” and it turned out so well that we decided to do it again this Spring, which we did last Sunday, April 29th.  We had seven experienced Writing Center instructors on staff: Minhee Kim, Chrissy Widmayer, Robert Collins, Antonio Byrd, Antonio Tang, Jared Seymour, and John Koban. Last December the instructors were Matthew Fledderjohann, Tori Thompson-Peters, Chrissy Widmayer, Antonio Tang, Jared Seymour, Julia Garrett, and Ambar Meneses.

All Seven instructors offered six 30-minutes appointments (42 spots in total) for undergraduates seeking help with all manner of writing projects: term papers, research papers, investigative reports, application essays, news analysis write-ups, resumes, CVs, lab reports, cover letters for jobs and internships, etc.

One of the great things about working at the Writing Center is that we see such a wide range of fascinating topics, and Midnight Madness was no exception. Students worked on essays about socio-economic inequality, race, business ethics, engineering, ecological degradation, the opioid epidemic, breast feeding, social work, contemporary literature, etc, etc. from a wide range of courses, including art history, physics, environmental engineering, sociology, introduction to literature, history, anthropology, psychology.

Welcoming the students and handling the sign-in process were our fabulous undergraduate receptionists, Brenna Kinney, Samantha Mintz-Agnello, and Sophia Lawrence.

We also had plenty of free caffeinated beverages and snacks for the students to enjoy. Both healthy and unhealthy options were available.

Undergraduates enjoying delicious snacks.
The long line against procrastination. Undergrads queue up to sign up for a 30-minute appointment.

Come see us again in December 2018!

7 Replies to “The Writing Center’s Midnight Madness at College Library”

  1. As one of the receptionists at Midnight Madness, I thought the event was great! The students seemed to truly appreciate the feedback from the instructors, and the instructors were engaged in the students’ assignments. It was a great event that I was glad to be part of!

  2. That long sign-up queue is impressive! Do you have plans to grow the event in the future? Are there indicators that students might appreciate more Midnight Madness sites across campus?

    1. Thanks for the comment, Mia. We will definitely keep doing it in the future. The students really seem to appreciate the all night tutoring before finals. If the need is there we might do two per semester and possibly have one at another library across campus.

  3. I’m so glad to see this turn into a regular event that serves undergraduate students (who may be panicking about how much they need to get done) at the end of the semester. I’m also mad proud that we have wonderful undergrad Writing Center receptionists eager to staff this event.

  4. As a MM tutor, I found it refreshing to work alongside my colleagues. (Satellite shifts can be very lonesome sometimes.) There’s something to be said about teaching and learning about writing en masse; the sight and sounds of everyone working hard to achieve something reminds us that writing is a corporate activity.

  5. Thanks for organizing this event, Rick! This event was my first Midnight Madness as a tutor. I’m typically up until midnight or 1AM (not studying but watching YouTube and messing with programming languages) so I figured I’d jump into a new experience. I was really inspired by how devoted students were to writing even that late at night. I think the turn out is just an indication that UW-Madison as a thriving culture of writing!

  6. Working Midnight Madness as a receptionist was so fun! It was awesome seeing the spots fill up fast. It’s a great event and super helpful during finals time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *