Student-run Poetry Project set to launch on campus

Fri 26 November, 2021
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The University of Bedfordshire has collaborated with an international initiative to launch the first university-led poetry campaign to raise awareness of mental health on campus.

The Poetry Project was started by poet James McInerney in 2018 in order to bring local communities together and encourage conversation about mental health. Having worked on poetry projects involving shopping centres, transport hubs and landmarks across the globe, including in the UK, Australia and America, this partnership with the University of Bedfordshire is the first time that The Poetry Project has run a student-led campaign.

The University’s activity will be led and managed by students and will see powerful messages of hope and inspirational quotes displayed across the University’s campuses from January 2022. The whole process of this campaign will allow students to gain valuable project management experience for their CVs.

James was inspired to launch The Poetry Project after contacting Transport for London to see if he could have his poems written on the service information boards dotted around the London Underground network. James’ first piece was put on one of the boards in December 2018 and the project has since gone from strength to strength, garnering a huge amount of public support. One of his most recent campaigns includes the Brighter Journeys campaign for Network Rail and the Chasing the Stigma charity, aiming to make train stations feel happier and brighter as commuters begin to return ‘to normal’ since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Speaking about the upcoming project with the University of Bedfordshire, James commented: “Not only will the end product be on display to help and heal all the students, those that participate will also be raising awareness of mental health issues on campus and beyond the walls of the University.

“As an added bonus, students who are looking for careers in project management, team leadership and who are looking to work in production, design, marketing and public relations, will have something to add to their CV, giving them an advantage when they graduate.

“Giving the students the opportunity to run the Project their way and giving them complete creative control will be a new kind of social experiment that I am very excited to see it progress.”

Raluca Grosu, a third-year Graphic Design student at the University, is the Project Manager in charge of a team of approximately twenty student participants.

Speaking about her involvement, Raluca said: “The most important thing for me is to spread positive messages and boost good vibes by replacing the propaganda and the hate around us with something more empowering. This is something that I would like to apply in my future career so it's a great opportunity for me.”

She continued: “I am so excited and grateful that I am part of the first teams of students who have ever taken the lead on a project like this. I am also very trustful in my team of fellow students because they are full of ideas, very talented, keen to make an impact and greatly involved already.”

Becky Plummer, Volunteering Recruitment Advisor with the Careers & Employability Service at the University, first came across The Poetry Project while looking for new volunteering opportunities for students.

Becky said: “We are delighted to be the first university in the world to have students running a campaign for The Poetry Project in its entirety. I’m grateful to James for the opportunity and am extremely proud of the students who are working on the project – I know they are going to create and manage an amazing campaign!”

Students are still able to get involved in the University’s Poetry Project in a variety of areas including marketing and public relations, blogging and social media. To get involved, email: Raluca-Mihaela.Grosu@study.beds.ac.uk

For more information about Volunteering opportunities organised by the University of Bedfordshire, visit the Careers & Employability hub in the Luton’s Campus Centre, visit the dedicated webpage or follow them on Instagram.

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