By Elizabeth Van Pilsum, Staff Writer
On Nov. 29, students across Saint Vincent College gathered in Luparello Hall at 7 p.m. for an open mic night. This open mic night was a collaborative effort organized by officers of the Uniting All People Club (UAP), Afro-Diaspora Student League, Step into SVC, and Writers’ Club.
Writers’ Club president Sean Callahan, junior accounting major, had the idea to plan an open mic night this semester, and he enlisted the help of UAP president Leslie Soriano, sophomore biology major, and Afro-Diaspora Student League president Kevin Jackson, junior English major. The three presidents advertised the event extensively with the assistance of Keila Lobos-Hernandez, graduate assistant of the Office of Multicultural Life who works with Step into SVC. All involved were eager to provide students with the chance to perform their work.
“The platform of self-expression is vital for students, especially within our small community,” Jackson said. “People here are extremely talented, and they deserve to show it in a safe setting.”
The open mic night showcased 10 different acts and was emceed by Soriano. Some of the students had signed up beforehand, while others showed up to the event and, inspired by the evening, performed spontaneously. Six students gave stand-up comedy routines, two students shared their poems, and two performed musical acts. Each act was unique to the individual students’ voices as they allowed the audience a glimpse of their lives, experiences, and emotions.
“I enjoy connecting with and introducing people to my world and the way I perceive it with my art,” Jackson said. “So, performing in front of friends and peers gives me that opportunity and brings me joy.”
The crowd was supportive and the community was welcoming, so the takeaway the club presidents had from the event was a positive one. “I think the night went incredibly well!” Soriano said. “I had an amazing time hosting the event, and I believe everyone there enjoyed themselves.”
Ultimately, the most important goal of the event was to create a safe and encouraging space for the students to perform. “Having an open mic on campus is extremely important, especially for the minorities on campus,” Soriano said. “It’s an outlet, a safe space, a place where we’re able to be heard and understood by peers who go through the same things as us or those who want to learn about the experiences of others. It does not matter if someone got on the stage
to share a form of art of theirs or if someone goes up on stage and rants about an experience they’ve gone through, the point is to be heard and feel like you have a place where you belong.”