Poetry Club dominates with 49 members and counting

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By: T. Celeste Mann | Published Oct. 2, 2016

Shawn Lawson Jr., a senior studying psychology at Kean University, made up his mind that he had something to say.

“Poetry can save lives,” said Lawson, president and founder of The Poetry Club on campus. “There needs to be a place where people can express themselves. A place where people can go and be free. Poetry can provide that place. I know I’m not the only one searching for an outlet.”

Last year, Lawson’s club was privately-run and called Prisoners of Words, or P.O.W for short. This year, the club plans to become a funded group of Student Organization. The deadline to become a funded group is Oct. 7 and applications are available on CougarLink.

A transfer student from Middlesex County College and someone who had not yet made friends, Lawson felt he was taking a risk. His hope was to “find his people.”

P.O.W’s first semester at Kean, Lawson admitted, “was terrible” since they lacked organization. With only seven members he began to doubt himself.

“I had no idea what I was doing,” said Lawson. “You think that because you love something it’ll work. You think because you’re good at something it can work. When in actuality, the only thing that makes anything work, is work itself.”

This semester, Lawson got to work.

He decided to revamp P.O.W. Lawson re-branded the group’s name to The Poetry Club to “keep it simple.”

And rather than depend solely on himself, Lawson looked outward for help. He reached out to communication majors, mainly students who had an interest in public relations. He also looked for social media specialists, or students who specialized in marketing.

With 250 flyers printed, Lawson began to post his flyers everywhere. Lawson knew this time around, The Poetry Club needed to dominate. He began to believe in his club and treat it as if it were his brand.

Lawson knew he was onto something great when he had 28 attendees at the first meeting of this semester. With each meeting, the member list has grown too. They currently have 49 dedicated members.

“Finally, my people found me,” said Lawson. “Even faculty drops in. Not because they want to oversee us but because they want to be apart of this. They, too, see this as an outlet.”

When asked what’s to come for The Poetry Club Lawson smirked.

“The Poetry Club is getting geared up to take Kean University by storm,” he said. “This semester The Poetry Club is putting on the biggest showcase that Kean University has ever seen. The theme is Childhood. Come and check us out.”

Lawson is waiting for an approved date from the university for the event.

For more information about The Poetry Club, email Lawson at Lawsonjs@kean.edu or follow the group on Twitter @KeanPOW.

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