Slam poetry group shows value of following dreams


By Gina Lorusso

The desire to achieve something seemingly beyond reach can become almost scary, especially as a college student with a hectic schedule, but a positive example can be the ticket to success. Impact Makars is turning its goals into reality through the use of spoken word.

Senior communication major Jamael Clark began Impact Makars less than one year ago and is giving everything he has to expand the organization and campaign beyond campus.

Impact Makars consists of students who come together to inspire the community through spoken word, which is a type of performance using poetry and original work that triggers emotions by the way words are said during a performance.

A group like this is unique and stands out not only because of what the members do, but because of what they stand for.

“Knowing what I wanted to do with this organization and imagining our impact on others is what got me to go through with creating something like this,” Clark said. “It can be a challenge to make a successful club at the college level.”

With a bit of luck and a hint of fate, the group found a faculty adviser with the same passion.

“I was excited just to know that there were other people that loved what I loved,” said Impact Makars adviser Russ Devereaux. “I didn’t care who was starting the team. I just knew that I could help them.”

Being a part of a team like this one only has benefits to offer students who have a passion for spoken word and poetry.

“[These students] have shared their souls without any fear,” Devereaux said. “They are speaking their own truth for the betterment of the team and, I hope, themselves.”

Impact Makars members perform in the area and work with other organizations on campus, including the Black Theater Workshop.

As a matter of fact, the organization plans on being a part of Louder Than a Bomb, one of the largest youth poetry festivals in the world, on Jan. 10.

Something like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and can change your life.

Being a part of a group that can take those chances is rewarding and beneficial because showing off a talent like this brings out the core of who you are.

The experience you will gain from it will broaden your perspective on life in an artful and inspiring way.

But, being a part of such a large and prestigious competition comes at a price.

“Many of the events we want to compete in cost money,” said Brittany Williams, senior rehabilitation services major. “And since we are not funded by [the Student Association] because we are new, we’re starting up a campaign soon to help our cause, called the Make Yourself Known Campaign.”

Members of Impact Makars are selling T-shirts for only $10, and the proceeds will pay for the group’s registration fees for Louder Than a Bomb.

“I want us to build a spoken word league, so to speak, with other colleges to compete at a collegiate level,” Clark said. “An organization like this needs to spread to many other schools.”

Seeing how successful this small and young group can be inspired me to act on my own goals and to not push them aside when they seem too immense.

I can only imagine what impact they can make on others around campus. To those of you who want to achieve big things and reach for the stars: It can become a reality if you have the desire to make it happen.

Maybe you can even start your own organization at NIU. It can be easier and more rewarding than you might think to make your mark while you’re here.