Lounge Provides Safe Space For Students

Lounge, created last year by two now-alumni, Karl Jackson ’14 and Manuel Heredia-Santoyo ’14, is back for its second year.  Lounge hosts casual evening events at Bunche House for live student performances such as spoken word, poetry, musical performances and dance, as well as a chance to showcase students’ artwork. Anyone can sign-up or submit artwork by emailing Lounge in advanced, or by writing one’s name on the open mic sheet anytime throughout the night.

Sophomore Hannah O’Malley took over the event this year.

“Since [Jackson and Heredia-Santoyo] were both graduating last year, I asked them if I could continue it and make it a more regular event since there are a lot of talented students on this campus, a lot of people who just enjoy listening to and seeing art, and I think it is important to have an informal venue for the arts that anyone on campus can access,” O’Malley said. 

O’Malley has increased the amount of nights to six for the first semester, and will probably hold a similar amount next semester.

Lounge held an event Friday, Sept. 26. Inside the Bunche house are two large rooms opposite from each other connected by the entryway. 

The living room, shown to the left, was the predominant stage with multiple chairs and microphones set up, while the bare room on the right was used for the evening’s dance performances.

First-year Nick Gilbert’s photographs and other students’ paintings lined the various mantle spaces around the living room, as well as in the adjacent room that held snacks, the open mic sheet and a community poem.

O’Malley started the evening by welcoming everyone and reminding performers and audience the Lounge is a supportive and safe space. Sophomore Bennie Guzman performed first by reading aloud parts of his fourteen-page prose essay, entitled “A Man is Full of Contradictions,” about his perception of masculinity. The evening went on with a variety of students reciting spoken word, poetry, playing instruments, singing, rapping and dancing. 

Engrossed in the performances, the audience clapped, snapped and hollered their encouragements at their fellow classmates. Since many of the students were still feeling the buzz from the days’ conclusion of the peaceful protest, the support and emotions seemed to be heightened. 

Junior Alexandria Davis beautifully sang “All That You Have is Your Soul” by Tracy Trapman, which resonated in particular with the audience members. The night was full of laughs and love as the 21 talented students performed for their peers.

“To me, what’s going on in Lounge is everyone’s true self,” first-year Charlie Sun said. 

First-year Chi Nguyen also enjoyed the night. 

“I came expecting to see some amazing vocal performances and paintings and actually I got more than that,” Nguyen said.  “More than just artistic appreciation, I got to know something about the performers, their personalities and stories that I could understand and relate.” 

O’Malley said it best.

“Art can be a pathway to deepening understanding and broadening what individuals are typically exposed to,” O’Malley said.