WU-SLam places second at nationals
Washington University’s poetry slam team was runner-up in the nation’s premier collegiate spoken word competition this weekend.
WU-SLam placed second to Macalester College in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI), beating out 36 other collegiate poetry slam teams from across the nation. The competition was hosted at the University of Michigan.
WU-SLam’s team for the competition, which consisted of seniors Naia Ferguson, Gerald Jackson and Aaron Samuels and freshmen Josh Aiken and Tabia Yapp, was undefeated until the final round, despite competing against champions from last year and the year before in preliminary rounds.
The team also won “Best Performance Team” for the second year in a row.
“The competition is a fun part of what we do, but the highlight is being part of a national spoken word community,” said Samuels, who co-founded WU-SLam in 2008. “Teams were coming up to us, asking how we do our thing, swapping stories about what it is like to run movements on respective campuses.”
Washington University’s team also received support from its home community. Approximately 20 students from the University traveled to Ann Arbor to support the team.
“As an artist, it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced, ever. Everyone there just really had passion for the craft,” Yapp said. “We had a lot of late nights and a lot of early mornings, but it was definitely all worth it, especially being one of the few freshmen there.”
Team members say that this year’s competition was the culmination of three years of hard work and dedication.
“Every year, WU-SLam has grown and become stronger,” Samuels said. “I know that we have one of the strongest spoken word communities at a local level, and it’s great to know that we are officially being recognized as one of the best programs in the country.”