Geneseo’s Women’s Action Coalition hosted their third annual Open Mic Night on Sunday Oct. 16 in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Students were encouraged to use the opportunity to vent their concerns about modern society in front of an accepting audience. “The [problem with] domestic violence is that it’s kept quiet,” English major sophomore and WAC member Jennifer Galvao said. “An open mic is an opportunity to speak out.”
Participants ranged from poets to musicians. Some wrote their own music for their performance, such as communication major junior Allison Altschiller. Her songs “Love Song,” “Black and White” and “Losing You” all carried a personal edge that made the audience sway and smile alongside her otherwise dour lyrics.
Other participants performed covers, including freshman Finn Jackson. His combination of guitar and raspy vocals shined in his renditions of Vance Joy’s “Riptide” and Wilco’s “I am Trying to Break Your Heart.”
The night’s poets were just as impressive. Political science major sophomore Emily Arpino approached the microphone apprehensively. “No matter how bad this is, you better applaud,” she said into the microphone, jokingly. As she recited her poem, every audience member could feel the raw passion behind her words.
History major sophomore Simone Bouchey spoke next. Her poem discussed society’s view of femininity, equating it with peeling an orange. Men who are too impatient and hungry will damage the skin of the orange while unwrapping it, whereas a man who takes their time and is gentle will be met with a glowing, undamaged orange.
In addition, WAC had numerous activities for audience members when the performers took breaks. One such activity was submissions for a WAC “zine,” where participants took old newspaper, cut out buzzwords and glued them onto white paper to create art that will later be used as pages of the zine. Hand drawn art accompanied many of the repurposed phrases.
One participant cut out a picture of First Lady Michelle Obama’s face and surrounded it with newspaper clippings reading, “Thank you.” Another read, “When will you learn that it’s not us versus them, but ourselves versus ourselves,” which was made entirely out of advertisements. These pictures will be published and distributed by WAC in the future.
Another table had arts and crafts made by WAC editorial board members. These included purple ribbons, the official symbol of Domestic Violence Awareness month. There were also hand-woven chokers that boasted affirmative statements such as, “Not yours,” embodying the raw strength that Open Mic Night hoped to inspire.
And inspire, it did. Open Mic Night brought out the best in Geneseo students, as everyone bonded over shared words and shared experiences.