Constructing belonging through sonic composition

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Traditional students spend about four years residing at their undergraduate institutions. During those years, commuter students visit campus mostly on an as-needed basis, limiting their opportunities to establish a sense of belonging. Exacerbating the physical separation between students and their schools, COVID-19-related lockdowns and closures challenged traditional means of community-building for institutions of higher education. A year without in-person classes in 2020–21 meant that in Fall 2021, both first- and second-year students, plus two cohorts of new employees, were new to campus facilities. Disbursing work and classes away from a centralized physical campus created a gap in experiential institutional memory. This article considers the problem of belonging within an urban-grant university community; shows how sound- and location-based digital composition projects preserve collective memory, provide forensic documentation of institutional legacies, and strengthen students’ awareness of temporal context; and theorizes the role of soundwriting projects in creating a sense of belonging for college students.

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Computers and Composition



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