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Open mic to bring students together
“We create, we don’t hate” is the motto that members of QUILL (Quinnipiac University Ignites Lyric Life) live by. Timothy Dansdill, Associate Professor of English, came up with the idea for open mic nights which is “an open forum where students can present their creative work,” he said.
With the problems of hate and racism that have recently struck Quinnipiac’s campus, Dansdill hopes that the open mic nights will bring individuals together.
“I want to reverse our world and turn us into a giant community of artists sharing their passions, hopes, dreams, and sufferings,” Dansdill said. “If we could do that, I don’t think we’d have hate speech in the dorms, or judging of clothes or cars. Everyone would be sharing and supporting their fellow students’ imaginations of how we can make ourselves better.”
Every Thursday night from 9:30-11:00, 25-30 students gather in the Bobcat Den to share their poems, music, and other creative works.
After studying at Sarah Lawrence College, Dansdill said his greatest learning experience was learning both critical and creative writing, as well as poetry and dramatic writings. The fine arts had a great impact on his education, and Dansdill wants to bring more of that to Quinnipiac’s campus. “I felt a void at Quinnipiac where I knew there were students here that were yearning to express themselves but don’t have the courses to do so,” he said.
According to Dansdill, students in majors other than liberal arts may find it difficult to be creative in their course work.
“Individuals are scared to reveal themselves as having a creative side and institutions are hesitant to integrate into their curriculum more creative ways for knowledge. It’s asking a lot of an institution to bring more fine arts into the curriculum,” Dansdill said. He believes that both critical and creative integration should work its way into all departments and curriculums that are offered to students.
One suggestion Dansdill has for bringing creativity to all majors is by professors encouraging their students to continue talking about what they learned that day in class. “Maybe bringing students together around questions like what makes their creative learning critical and their critical learning creative would keep more students on campus,” he said.
Some students may be hesitant to show off their creativity in fear of being perceived as “uncool”.
“By the time someone is 18 or 19, it’s no longer cool to simply be childlike and let yourself explore something for the sake of exploring,” Dansdill said.
He hopes that students will learn to trust their own voice and express themselves creatively in an open mic session or in their classes. “That’s what the arts is for – the arts are supposed to turn our curriculum after our classes are over into a community that doesn’t just reproduce knowledge, but uses it in an almost a new, spiritual way.”