By: Cheyenne Petitpas

Flashback to late August: It’s only been a few days since I started living on campus. I was an intimidated freshman who was nervous yet excited to start getting involved at Kent State.

Like most new students, I visited every table I could at the Kickoff festival and signed up for far too many organizations I knew I’d never attend. I gave my email to multiple tables for one of two reasons: to get free stuff, or because I had genuine interest in the organization. I didn’t go to any of them for a while, mainly because I was nervous to go alone and didn’t make any friends on campus yet.

I eventually met a friend through a modeling/promotion gig. Basically, someone asked for volunteers to take pictures in company merchandise and only two of us who responded. The other girl brought a friend along, and I began talking to her friend over lunch. We discovered we had a lot in common. I brought up how there were so many clubs I wanted to go to, but I could never force myself to actually go. She said she felt the same way, and we discovered there was one club we both wanted to try out. She had been going for a while with her friends and invited me to tag along.

The club was More Than A Body, which is a club that focuses on supporting and comforting those who have experienced sexual assault or harassment. More Than A Body was high on my list of clubs I wanted to join, so I was stoked that I was finally going.

The meeting I went to was during the peak of the Kavanaugh case, so obviously we talked about the case and how, unfortunately, a lot of victims are blamed and justice isn’t served the way it should be. We did an activity called blackout poetry, which is where you take a section of text, highlight certain words to create a new text and color out the rest of the words. We did this with articles about the case, with printed speeches that Kavanaugh delivered, articles about Trump discussing the topic, and articles discussing other men who have committed the same crimes.

It felt powerful to cross out words of a negative text to create something more empowering and just. To turn something negative into something positive always leaves people feeling uplifted and happy. It was amazing to feel the vibe in the meeting shift as people created their poetry.

At the end, we went around and shared what we had created. Hearing some of other’s poems, I was amazed at not only their artistry regarding the wording, but how drastically they changed the tone of the text. Leaving the meeting, I felt validated and supported. I learned I was not nearly as alone as I felt I was.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to attend More Than A Body again due to classes and work, but I still highly recommend the meetings to my friends. I never thought that being with others that share my experiences would be beneficial to me, being a very shy and closed off person, but it was empowering and felt good.