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STUDENTx showcase to be held at UMass on Thursday

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(Courtesy STUDENTx's Official Facebook)

(Courtesy STUDENTx’s Official Facebook)

STUDENTx, a Registered Student Organization at the University of Massachusetts, is set to showcase a diverse variety of speakers at the Campus Center Auditorium on Thursday at 7 p.m. in an exhibition designed to highlight the talents and ideas of Five College students.

The event takes inspiration from the TED organization, which offers similar sorts of talks relating to technology, culture and science, among others. Through 10-minute presentations, the STUDENTx talks will focus on unique subjects like social issues, scientific discoveries and aspects of the human experience.

Five speakers, each representing a university in the Five College Consortium, will be featured in the showcase, along with a slam poetry performance by a UMass student. The event has already garnered approximately 250 attendees on Facebook.

Stella Elwood, a freshman at Mount Holyoke College, will deliver a speech titled “Sit, Stay, Heal: Revolutionizing Prisons Through Puppies.” Elwood hopes to bring attention to programs that provide therapy to prison inmates through relationships and friendships with puppies.

Kaelan McCone, an Amherst College freshman, will present a speech titled “Growing Up Mixed-Race in the South,” a talk that will focus on his experience with racism in the United States.

Smith College senior Liana Miguelina Weeks is slated to discuss the importance of communities in modern society in “Youth Culture: How it’s Defining Our Generation.”

“How to Go Beyond Good to Get to Great” will be presented by Nirman Dave, a freshman at Hampshire College, in which he will exhibit his passion for computer science, entrepreneurship and understanding human behavior.

Sanah Rizvi, a senior psychology major, will represent UMass, focusing on embracing ordinary excellence and what it means to be human and happy, in her talk “The Extraordinary Nature of Being Ordinary.”

The slam poem “Do Less, Be More” will be performed by Chrissy Dasco, a senior BDIC major concentrating in alternative education at UMass.

Dasco became involved in STUDENTx when she recited her poems to a friend and the head of STUDENTx’s coordinating team, GianPaula Hulten. Hulten encouraged Dasco to consider performing at the event.

“(The) thing about writing poetry is that writing poetry is a function that must be charged with a particular energy. I never sit down and decide to write a poem,” Dasco said. “Poems are fervent feelings that intoxicate my headspace and suffuse my being so much that writing and reciting becomes a necessary conduit for releasing that energy.”

With education as the primary focus of her studies, Dasco reflected upon her educational experience and how the culture that decides to educates its citizens is not conducive to raising a nation of happy and loving human beings.

“What have I learned as a product of the educational system? What have I learned as a daughter of this Earth? How do I presume through the remainder of the time that is mine to live?” Dasco said. “With these questions swirling through my mind, I had to write; I had to sort these thoughts and understand my own feelings.”

With these thoughts in her mind, she wrote “Do Less, Be More,” a title that refers to the notion of Dasco doing less of what others expect from her while being more authentic to herself.

“I would like to encourage listeners to allow themselves to trust their intuition and live according to their own time and energy, not to be a slave to other people’s timelines and expectations,” Dasco said.

 

Danny Cordova can be reached at [email protected]

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