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Diaz 1 Madelyn Diaz ENC 1101 0045 11:30-12:20 Discourse Community Analysis Walking into the largest university

in the nation is no small feat. You are trying to adjust to a new environment along with over 60,000 other students around you. It can be very overwhelming to find a group of people you connect with when there are countless number of clubs and organizations this school has to offer. University of Central Florida as a whole, strives to provide the best opportunities for their students to succeed in their studies but also to grow and enrich student development through the programs available. Eventually, through workshops advertising some of the organizations at UCF or through a reference, everyone will find their place. Researchers have posed a special interest in groups of people who share a common interest and how they interact throughout what is called a discourse community. Toni Mirabelli and John Swales studies individuals and analyzed their behavior in a discourse community. Discourse community can be defined as individuals trying to achieve a common goal through actions guided by a genre and possessing other characteristics that I will discuss further in my paper. Researchers want to learn more about discourse communities because this opens the gate to understanding how it may influence writers

Diaz 2 as a whole. Toni Mirabelli studied a group of waiters in a privately owned restaurant and the importance the menu had on the waiters skills and interaction with the customer. He differentiated between waiters with varied knowledge of the menu to see how that affects their ability to perform their job. Mirabelli stressed the significance a genre held in the discourse community of waiters at this restaurant. John Swales, more so focused on what made a group a discourse community by defining 6 characteristics that would qualify a group as one. He also discusses consequences that come with defining a discourse community. Combining the work of Swales and Mirabelli, I set out to study one of the clubs offered here on campus called the Filipino Student Association, commonly known as FSA. Similar to Swales, I will define this discourse community using my observations while also studying how genre plays a big role on the discourse, such as Mirabelli. My researcher strives to fill the gap of the study of college students within a discourse at a recreational level rather than individuals in a work force. This could help explain the growth of students who participate in a discourse community within their college career and how that may influence them in the future, either as writers or in their future career. Methodology The discourse community I decided to study was the Filipino Student Association. One of my close friends recently became a new member of this club and while she was explaining new and upcoming events that the club

Diaz 3 was involved in, I instantly became interested in learning more about what the club consists of. I observed two FSA meetings, both on a Tuesday evening. I bought simply paper and a pen to document my observations. During the meeting, I wrote down everything I saw, including flags hanging from the ceiling to the members sitting down around the room. I documented activities that the members participated, how the leaders handled the meeting and I gathered a brochure from a leader that all new members receive. After observing two meetings, I chose a member of the club, Abby Espanol, to interview about further questions I had after looking over my notes. I gathered about 15 questions prior to the interview. While asking Abby questions, I used my voice recorder app on my iPhone to record our interview. After the interview, I started the process of transcribing our interview by playing the voice recording and transferring my questions and her answers to a word document. From time to time, I played the recording over to make sure I transcribed everything correctly. Once I have organized all of the information I needed for my research such as my notes from the observation, the transcribed interview and the brochure for new members, I was ready to begin my analysis. Observations The Filipino Student Association meets on Tuesday evenings at the Barbara Yang Center at the UCF campus at 8. While I was walking up to the entrance, I noticed that there were people waiting outside of the building for about 15 minutes. I found this strange, especially after discussing with a

Diaz 4 member of the association that this is the usual. It was easy to conclude before even entering the building that whoever ran these meetings were either always late, or unorganized. Once all of the members were allowed in the building, there was a clear division between leaders and members. For the leaders, there was a table upfront where they sat facing the chairs for the general members. Around the room there were flags from many different countries all around the world. This made me feel that club is very accepting of not only those with Filipino descent, but everyone. Before the meeting, members were conversing with other members or the leaders. Although the environment seemed very open, I quickly realized that these members have already formed a tight knit group of friends. While everyone was talking and catching up with one another, there was music in the background, more members coming in for the meeting, members on their phone, and everyone seemed to be doing their own thing. Before I knew it, it was about 30 minutes after 7, when the meeting was suppose to begin. It took a little bit of time for the leaders to get everything ready to start the meeting because they had to settle down all the members, which seemed to be a challenge. Typical FSA meetings start with an icebreaker, and this meeting was no exception. This week, they had a pie-eating contest and the winner would win a visa gift card. Three men volunteered to participate. This activity helped all of the members focus on the front table where the leaders sit, and where the pie-eating was contest at that time. As the pie-eating contest was

Diaz 5 going on, it was easy to notice how much the members enjoyed coming together every week as it was place to hang out with all of their friends. Once the content was over, the leaders went on about new activities and events that the members could participate in such as an Intramural Basketball team and different ways to help all sorts of causes. The leaders introduced a film fest contest where members can make a film on anything they want and they would have to submit it to their website. Once everyone has submitted their video, they are going to have a get together to watch the short films and judge which one was the best. They discussed an angel wish list for unprivileged children to help give them a better Christmas and also a fundraiser for thanksgiving. At the end of the meeting, they showed a video of a dance that most of the members participated in at a recent competition in Gainesville. They placed 2nd against out of all the FSAs that competed throughout the state. It was obvious, it was a great accomplishment and that was gained through a lot of hard work and dedication. As an observer, I was very overwhelmed with all of the information the leaders were giving us. I was very surprised to see how involved this club is with the community; it definitely wasnt what I expected. Another surprising component with this meeting was the amount of time it took for the leaders to discuss all of the upcoming events. The members would very often talk over the leaders, delaying the meeting quite a bit. This was the case for the second meeting as well. The second meeting however, was a lot more

Diaz 6 interactive and less informative than the first one I observed. For day 2 of observing, this meeting was about raising money for an organization through a Pie Day. For Pie Day, people placed bids so they can throw a pie in someones face. If that person wanted to return a pie to your face, theyd have to double your bid. For example, I want to pie my friend Sally in the face for 5 dollars, for Sally to pie me in the face instead, she would have to pay 10 dollars. This process will go on until the other person doesnt want to double the price to pie the other in the face. All of the members got so into who was pieing whom, how much money someone spent, and just having a good time. This meeting was so different than the first one I observed, I really got to witness the members getting closer through simply interacting and laughing with each other while raising money for a good cause. Some people placed bids as high as 80 dollars. It was so refreshing to see a group of people so willing to participate to raise money. However, similar to the first meeting, the leaders had to continuously ask the members to quiet down so we could all hear everyones bids. Keeping everyone calm was certainly one of the biggest problems I observed. All of the talking was very distracting, and at times, annoying. The leader very evidently lack control in the meetings but because all of the members have such a great time, I could see this easily being over looked by all of those who are in this club as a normal and acceptable interaction with a leader. Findings The Filipino Student Association is more than meets the eye. Walking

Diaz 7 into the meeting, I had a preconceived mindset of what this club was more than likely trying to achieve and what the meeting was going to consist of. My initial assumptions were both right and wrong. At first I believed that FSA just wanted to embrace the Filipino culture and teach others about their traditions. While that is true, I quickly realized that as a whole, FSA strives to fulfill a purpose of building a family within its members. When I interviewed a member of FSA, Abby Espanol, she explained how participating in all of the events this club has to offer brought her a lot closer to the other members, specifically referencing an event called open mic. At open mic members gather together and truly open their hearts. Some sing, or play instruments, while others recite their own poetry. Abby stated that after this night, she felt unified with the members. She saw them as more than just Filipinos that happened to be in the same club she was in. Abby was shocked by the members sincerity behind the microphone, and really connected with those as her new sisters and brothers. Moreover, the big and little system contributed to unity. At the beginning of the semester, everyone fills out interest cards that are specific to you and your personality. By those cards, you are assigned a Big brother, and a Big sister. he introduced me to all his other friends that I wouldnt have met in the club myself and opened me up to more event and I got to meet other people.. this was more like a family eventually everyone is each others big and sister and stuff like that and we are all connected in one way. Abby Espanol Not only does FSA strive to become a family, they set out to help the community one donation at a time. By attending the first meeting, I was very overwhelmed with the amount of fundraisers they actually participate in. My

Diaz 8 initial reaction to all of this was confusion. Why does FSA try to do so many things at once? What are they really trying to achieve? FSA tries very hard to reach out to all of the members. I believe they participate in so many activities to accommodate a large group of people with different interests. In doing so, this club gives so many opportunities to its members to truly connect to one another in someway. To inform all of their members of upcoming events, leaders constantly update their facebook and twitter, the two most popular social networking sites. Not only do leaders just pour out all of their information on this page, but the members post onto FSAs facebook and comment on their twitter as well. Whether they are posting inside jokes, or how they enjoyed the meeting that evening, everyone is involved in this page as the strongest form of communication when they are outside of the meetings. Members are easily updated with current projects they are working on, as well as upcoming ones, and past events that they participated in if you scroll down on the page. There are countless numbers of pictures that are posted from the events that new members can view to see what this club is all about. Facebook and twitter also serve as a feedback mechanism. On facebook, you can set up a poll, either checking yes or no if the leaders want to know of members opinion on certain concerns or possible events others might want to participate in. Members also have the ability to comment, like a facebook post, or favorite a twitter post. There are truly numerous ways to voice your opinion in this club. The leaders are very successful in the fact of

Diaz 9 give the opportunity for members to reach out to them. At the first meeting I attended, at the end, one of the leaders recognized that I was a new member and I have never been to one of their meetings before. As a result, she handed me a brochure that all new member receive to learn a little bit about the club. Looking at the brochure, it is very overwhelming. All of the print is bold and the pictures were in black and white. Usually bold print is used to highlight text and used for text such as headings. Trying to read this was a challenge because everyone word was highlighted and capitalized. However after getting past the text, reading what this entire entire club does can be intimidating to a new member, especially if you dont know any Tagalog, the Filipino language. Some of the activities were introduced in Tagalog such as the Filipino dances and competitions. Strictly but looking over the brochure, as a new member that is Puerto Rican and Japanese, I felt very out of place. The brochure itself though, does radiate a sense of unity. In the pictures within the brochure, the members are laughing and having a good time while doing the Filipino dances such as Sayaw sa bangkd and Binasuan. On the front of the brochure, the title states, the age of FSA; past and present. It took me awhile to even realize the cover because I was so focused on reading what was inside the brochure and it started to click. I was confused on why this club participated in so many dance genres, why not just do Filipino dances? FSA wants to highlight not only traditional dances but also modern forms of dance to accommodate everyones interest to get

Diaz 10 them to participate. Although this was the Filipino student association, the amount of Tagalog they used in meetings was very, very limited. In fact, the only sound of Tagalog I heard were from the people around me. During the interview with Abby, I learned a little more about the lexis used by some of the members. In the brochure there were 3 Filipino dances they participated in, Sayaw Sa Bangkd, Binasuan and Tinikling. Sayaw Sa Bangkd is a bench dance. Couples on a small bench, hoping from one end to another, typically perform it. Binasuan translates to with the use of a drinking glass. This dance began as a way for people to express thanks to the god, as stated in the brochure. This dance requires a lot of balance and grace. They dance to the music with one glass in each hand and one on their head. Tinikling involves two people rhythmically tapping bamboo poles on the ground while dancers dance over and between the poles. With more casual words used in the meeting, I had to ask Abby what they meant. With the big and little system called Ate Kuya Ading, it is normal to call your big brother, Kuya and big sister Ate. Abby also mentioned, outside of her interview about a Balikbayan Box. She explained that this is a box that Filipino families fill up with canned good, clothes, toys, or other items to send to their families in the Philippines. This was very common in not only her household, but the club also took part in a Balikbayan Box fundraiser to donate to the Philippines. Aside from a few words and the name of the dances, FSA doesnt have much of their own language that is strictly unique to their club and they

Diaz 11 do this purposefully. They want to maintain an open environment for all different types of culture to join their club. To become a leader in FSA, you have to be qualified. There are different positions that are available and they strive to have the best people at the job. If you want to be in charge of the technological duties during the meeting, you have to show the current leaders that you have experience and hold a great knowledge for technology. Overall though, for the most part, you have to be involved and get other people pumped up to involve. The leaders were very enthusiastic and got the other members to get involved by cheering for people at the pie eating content and just trying to make them laugh and have a good time. Its obvious that it takes a lot of confidence and work to be a leader. You have to organize all of the events you participate in and help with fundraising while also connecting with all of the other members in the club During my observation, one of the biggest issues I

noticed in the meetings was the lack of respect members had for the leaders when they were talking. It didnt take long for me to understand why this problem was happening. Before the meeting began, I noticed how everyone was friends with everyone. It was obvious that they all hung out frequently in and outside of the club. Although, theyve achieved the goal of becoming a family, the very casual relationship between members and leaders comes with consequences. We spent a good amount of time each meeting to get everyone to quiet down and respect the leaders while they were talking to the club because the leaders to most members is just another friend. Most

Diaz 12 members dont see the leaders as an authority figure. For a leader to be successful, there is a time and a place to for everything. In the meeting, you have be on a more casual/professional level with your members. Conclusion Studying this discourse community was eye opening. It allowed me to witness a different type of culture and ultimately a whole different whole than mine. This culture is so prominent on unity, it was a pleasure to see all of the things they strive to accomplish within the community. From my research I conclude that being in this club can pose benefits and negatives for the future of the members outside of their college career. Being that they are all about unity, I see this being able to head into two different directions. Within the club, most members feel very comfortable with the other members and are easy to open up. In the workforce, they are not only Filipinos in every occupation. I could see a lot of the members being very closed off in the presence of non Filipinos because they wouldnt think they have a lot in common with others. This could cause a problem because of the inability to unify with your coworkers. However, this is an extreme direction. I felt as though, being in FSA can mostly pose many benefits. By participating in such a club that works at every angle for every member to feel apart of the family, that characteristic will carry with you outside of college. Your ability to work with others is greater. Giving back to the community in all of the fundraisers FSA participates in will also instill

Diaz 13 positive qualities in the members to have a giving hand. FSA can truly help an individual grow as a person and ready them for their future as can any club offered here at UCF. All it takes is one friend to convince you to go to one meeting instead of just staying in your dorm. Every student here at this university must take a look at all of the fantastic opportunities we have in front of us, because one day, itll make us successful.