Each semester, the students who make up the Stephens Life staff bring different strengths and skills to the newsroom, and we have the incredible opportunity and responsibility to adapt to these ever-changing groups. This idea is not unique to our staff, however. Stephens College as an institution fosters an environment that supports students in growing and changing into the women they’ve always wanted to become. Through classes and faculty that challenge us to student services that encourage us to make the most of our extracurriculars, Stephens inspires students to take ownership of their experiences. This spring, we’re excited to feature a number of diverse students and organizations that represent this trend of student ownership. From refreshed groups like Alpha Lambda Delta and the dance team to new organizations like Poets of Infinity and the Acute Math Club, students have taken every opportunity to make their time at Stephens exactly what they want it to be. As a graduating senior, it is my sincerest hope that the organizations that have made my time at Stephens so wonderful continue long after I’ve walked across the stage and received my diploma. Stephens Life is one of those organizations. This magazine has given me the chance to explore my interests and develop my skills as a writer, editor, staff member and leader. While my experience is uniquely my own, each student has the ability to do the same, and that is what makes Stephens Life so special. Stephens Life has always been exactly what students want it to be, and, like any organization, it will only continue if students make the effort to grow it.
Above THE CROWD
unch hour in Stamper Commons is normally noisy, with too many voices for diners to hear themselves think. Sometimes, though, two women will stride confidently to the entrance to the dining area, capturing everyone’s attention with one word projected over the roar of mindless lunchtime chatter. A word like “WORD” begins a spoken-word performance, and voices subside as everyone turns to face the two who have something to say. “I love performing at lunch when nobody’s expecting it,” freshman Jonné LASTNAME said. Freshman creative writing student Tiana Williams and freshman fashion marketing student Jonné realized they both had a passion for poetry during a youth poetry competition their senior year of high school. Cultivating their talent, Tiana began writing in fifth grade and Jonné began competing her freshman year. Both women have made a bold impact and jumped right into Poets of Infinity since they started classes at Stephens, in August. Both vice presidents of the organization got involved when president Gabriel Cole brought the idea to them. “Our role was to support Gabriel and promote Poets of Infinity and get people to join,” Williams said. Preferring to write by herself, Tiana’s creative process starts behind the scenes when she writes poetry in the silence of her productivity inducing, distraction free bedroom. “Because a lot of my poetry is voice driven, I like to say it out loud while I’m writing it,” Tiana explained. Often writing pen to paper in her multiple poetry notebooks, when faced with writers block, she has a tendency of switching to her laptop and writing stream of consciousness. “I just kinda wait for inspiration. I take a lot from things that happen around me. Then I just write. Lately it’s been very social justice driven because that’s what I want my poetry to be, a platform. When I look on the news I see everything that’s going on and I feel compelled to write about it.” When asked what was lacking in the Stephens community that Poets of infinity has brought to campus, Jonné shared, “Everybody is so quiet and keeps to themselves and I feel like Poets of Infinity starts the conversation and opens the idea that you can go
to lunch and be really loud and people will listen to you if you’re loud.” Tiana included, “It’s a safe space for people to come and express their ideas openly. Sometimes you just need people to listen and that’s what this space is for.” To Tiana, Poets of Infinity is a safe space for creative minds to meet and appreciate the art. For Jonné it’s a place to be creative, inspired, to share, to take, and to give. Both women agree that they enjoy hearing the other women’s poetry and embracing the different styles and energy every woman puts into it. “They get my thoughts going and really inspire me.” Tiana said. The events Poets of Infinity are involved in are also a favorite part of the organization. “I feel like in class I don’t always have a chance to express my thoughts so people think I’m shy and are surprised to see me perform and have my voice herd. But the spontaneous poetry we do at lunch time is one of my favorites,” Tiana said. Both students have big dreams for Poets of Infinity and would like to see it grow into an even bigger group where even more people come and share. “Our work is usually received pretty positively I usually try not to go in the mindset that I’m going to reach and please everybody, but I feel like for the most part people are inspired by it. I’d like to see some of our other members perform and become the face of our organization because so far it’s just been Gabriel, Jonné and I,” Tiana said.” “I’d like to see Poets of Infinity have bigger events where the city and Mizzou students want to come. I’d love to partner with Mizzou,” Jonné said. This should be a paraphrase, mostly because I don’t like the use of “Mizzou.” I think we say something about how they have big dreams for growing the club, maybe getting students from MU to come over here for a change, and maybe even performing for much larger audiences, maybe even their dining halls … see if their voices can rise above that din … anyway, something like that could bring it full circle.
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