On 5 March 2015, Marc Garneau CI hosted its second Written Word Café in the SAC office. The event was created to allow students to spend some quiet time thinking and writing creatively. Originally, the Café was conceived to celebrate Black History Month. Its goal was to spread awareness about the four themes of the month: leverage, belonging, integrity, and resilience. Students were allowed to write about any topic, but were suggested to write pieces inspired by the theme of equality. The event as well as its predecessor were hosted jointly by the Student Activity Council and the Social Justice Committee.

Students were encouraged by posters around the school to drop by the SAC office during their spares. The room had a quiet, introspective vibe to it. A stark contrast to the bright cafeteria, the room was illuminated only by lights strung around the room. A table off to the side held paper, pencils, and other students’ poetry to look at for inspiration. There were also clipboards provided so that extra students (or those wishing to find a more comfortable spot) could be accommodated on the couch.

Although students did participate the Written Word Café, the event wasn’t incredibly fruitful. The event was considered inferior to the one held one week previously, which was said to have been received more enthusiastically by the student body. Only five to ten people showed up during each spare, and only a portion of them actually contributed a written piece in the end. “Poetry and writing isn’t everyone’s jam,” admitted organizer Jackie Ho.  “We also had a limit to the number of people who could be in the SAC office, so we couldn’t really have a ton of people in there.”

Students were encouraged to write about

Students were encouraged to write poems and creative pieces about equality. Photo: Jenna Wong

Some students attribute the Café’s lack of success to the environment itself, which was disputed. “They could’ve made the environment happier,” commented Grade 12 student Alveena. “I think it could be improved if there was more privacy too. The entire window’s open.” Grade 12 student Omair Ansari had a different opinion: “The environment puts you in a philosophical mood that lets you ponder over your ideas… It’s a serious environment that’s very mellow.”

Although there was definitely room for improvement, the Written Word Café did provide a (relatively) quiet area for some students to think and write. “We did get some people that came, and some good poems,” says Jackie. Overall, the event produced both positive and negative reactions from the MGCI students who actually attended.