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IGU Hosts Successful Open Mic Night During the Biennial Symposium

Co-authored by Emilia Intili and Victoria CattelonaEmma Cooper

On the evening of March 27 during the 2021 Institute for Global Understanding Biennial Symposium, the student-led Open Mic Night provided a forum for students to share their talents and thoughts in relation to human rights and the environment. Hosted by IGU graduate interns Emi Intili and Courtney Gosse, the event was an energetic display with student, community, and faculty performances. Participants sang, danced, and recited poetry and short stories, while others attended simply to share their thoughts. Other participants produced original TikTok videos that reflected the intersectionality inherent in the human rights and the environment theme of the event and the symposium as a whole.

Winning performances Hannah Burkeincluded undergraduate student and aspiring educator Emma Cooper’s Spanish Ode to Mother Earth — which she wrote for a course with Associate Professor Dr. Alison Maginn in the Department of World Languages and Cultures — and the School of Social Work graduate student Hannah Burke’s “The Embalming Song,” which explores unsustainable modern death practices and her post-mortem plan to honor the Earth. Burke also delivered a presentation on the subject the following day during the Monmouth University Student Panel along with interdisciplinary presentations from four other undergraduate and graduate students. Other contributions include Julia Poaella’s original poetry on social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, and fifth grader Jeff Jiju’s recommendations for sustainable living.

The winning video submitted by Dillon Schindler, a music student, was of the student-run Blue Hawk Records showcasing their song “Equal,” which emphasizes the importance of actively combating racism through one’s voice. The music video is available to view here. The Kahoot! Trivia Game, moderated by IGU undergraduate interns Chelsea Franchette, Chloey Norris, and Muge Gore, featured a fierce competition and ended with Kerry Lenhart, a graduate student in the School of Social Work, claiming victory.

The successful inaugural student-run Open Mic Night will continue in future iterations of the biennial symposium.