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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Hour-long slam concludes SCOLA conference

Elizabeth Acevedo closed the 27th annual SCOLA conference with an hour-long slam poetry performance dedicated to “Unmasking Your Identity.” 
The conference hosted over 200 delegates from A&M and other Texas colleges, as well as multiple speakers, including Christine Stanley, and Joe Feagin. The conference focused on expressing individuality of the Latino community through writing and art. 
“It really surprised me how well taken care of I was, I mean I’m completely spoiled and ruined for any other school,” Acevedo said. “People were just so nice and responsive — it was great.”
Selena Mares, entertainment coordinator for SCOLA, said attendees took away a better understanding of what it means to be a Latino and to be a part of the world community.
“SCOLA’s dual-faceted mission is to provide a forum for students to discuss significant issues that impact the growing Latino population in our nation, and to foster exemplary leadership development among its members,” Mares said.
At the conference, delegates were able to take poetry workshops, explore campus, listen to speakers, engage in networking opportunities and go to scheduled entertainment events, as well as spend one-on-one time with Acevedo. 
“We all got to have dinner together so we got to sit down and talk about our families and talk about our upbringings and so I think it was a really personal and intimate way to get to know the people who put on the conference,” Acevedo said. “It was more than I thought it would be. They were all super respectful and they really just have a great working relationship and partnership and it showed that they have been working on this conference since September, and that they put a lot of thought into it.”
Although some of Acevedo’s poetry could be considered controversial, she still brought a new and fresh perspective to A&M, said Gonzalo Rodriguez, political science senior and SCOLA conference director.
“Just like with any other form of entertainment, her poetry is award winning because it makes you feel uncomfortable,” Rodriguez said. “It challenges you to question conventional thoughts and conventional conceptions. It makes us analyze situations.” 
Mirroring Acevedo’s challenging societal norms, some of the delegates took their workshops as a time to express themselves through poetry.
“I was incredibly impressed with the workshops,” Acevedo said. “I mean, the poems that people wrote in just 30 to 40 minutes were remarkable. This one girl wrote a poem about sheep, and so often we think of sheep as being followers and she completely flipped the metaphor on its head and that was wonderful.”
Acevedo said the workshops allowed students to talk about aspects of their life not commonly talked about.
“There was a guy who even wrote about his love handles,” Acevedo said. “I mean, we have these conceptions of men talking about their bodies and everything was just so vulnerable. I think that’s what I found remarkable about all of the writing — it was really vulnerable and thoughtful.”

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