Stephanie Burgis
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I woke up this morning to find out really awful news - at Clarion West, four students have had their laptops stolen. This would be really rotten for anybody, but it's particularly awful in this context. First of all, the obvious: these people are writers who need computers to be able to do their work, not just at CW but at home afterwards. And then the slightly-less-obvious: the fact that they're currently at Clarion West makes it far, far less possible for them to replace those computers.

Clarion West is a 6-week residential program that costs, in total (including tuition, room and board) somewhere in the area of $3,000. Of course, most people can't take 6 weeks off work - which means that a sizable percentage of CW students have actually quit their jobs in order to attend. Others - like me, when I attended as a grad student - didn't have to do that, but still took a huge financial gamble by choosing to attend. When I went to Clarion West, back in 2001, I was lucky enough to get a scholarship that covered my tuition - but I still ended up going into debt by almost $2,000. It was absolutely worth it - one of the best investments I ever made. But the point is: these are not people who can afford to replace their computers, even though they are people who desperately need them.

Clarion West is asking for help for these four students. If you have (or know of anybody who has) a spare laptop that could be permanently donated to one of them as a replacement, please email one of the administrators at info @ clarionwest . org (remove spaces). Alternately, if you're able to donate something towards the cost of replacements, no matter how large or small, you can donate directly through this page, making sure to mark your donation "for Computer Replacement". All donations are tax-deductible. And four students will be really, really grateful.

Kat by Starlight
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