Students attending the Scholarship and Creative Arts Night reflect on their strengths and unwind with arts and crafts and an open mic after SCAD. Photo Credit: Shane Bahn
The Scholarship and Creative Arts Day (SCAD) festivities continued on into the evening of April 25 with the first ever Strengths and Creative Arts Night. Hosted in the Blue Bean, Strengths and Creative Arts Night offered students the opportunity to unwind and to express their strengths (as measured by the Clifton StrengthsFinder Inventory) in a number of creative ways.
“At Elizabethtown College, we believe that every single person has unique natural talents,” Stacey Zimmerman, associate director of Strengths Coaching and Ethical Leadership Development said. “Our goal is to help each person discover their strengths and unlock their potential.”
Strengths and Creative Arts Night was inspired by an event hosted earlier in the year called Blue Jay Strengths Cabaret. During Strengths Week in October, nearly 20 student soloists from several majors and departments across campus performed songs that exemplified one or more of their Top 5 Strengths.
Senior Sammi Eisdorfer, one of three Strengths Peer Educators who work closely with Zimmerman throughout the year to create Strengths-related programming on campus, wanted to build off of the success from the cabaret night and create an event that was even more interactive and engaging for students.
For Strengths and Creative Arts Night, Zimmerman and the Strengths Peer Educators wanted to create an event where students could come to hang out and unwind after an eventful day full of SCAD presentations. By participating in the events and activities of the night, students could earn entries into the drawing to win a Starbucks giftcard.
Students were encouraged to take part in a haiku contest by writing about their strengths, their end of the semester stresses or just anything that inspires their creativity.
Using a variety of creative materials, some participants created handprints to signify their Top 5 talents or chose to share about what their personal experience with Strengths has meant to them in the Strengths Journal.
“I believe that a strengths-based mindset is instrumental in helping each individual thrive in life,” Zimmerman said. “When we understand and appreciate our natural talents, we allow ourselves to fully be who we are, not who we think we should be.”
An open mic, complete with a keyboard and two guitars, was set up all night for students to share music, jokes or even poetry with their fellow students.
First-year Pleasant Sprinkle-Williams took advantage of the open mic as an opportunity to perform spoken word poetry for the first time.
“I’m not going to practice, I’m just going to come up with the ideas on the spot,” Sprinkle-Williams said right before her first performance of the night. “I’m in Mad Cow and improv is what I do.”
Instead of performing a piece that she had written and practiced in advance, Sprinkle-Williams chose to ask the audience for topic suggestions that she could build a whole poem around as she went. By delivering poems on topics ranging from “kelp” to “world hunger”, Sprinkle-Williams stepped out of her comfort zone and expressed a strong desire to do more spoken word poetry performances in the future.
Other students who performed at SCAN included first-year Delaney Dammeyer and sophomore Emil Rider Brandau, both of whom sang and played acoustic guitar.
First-year Aubrey Mitchell came out to Strengths and Creative Arts Night hoping to take a break from homework and participate in some arts and crafts making.
“I thought the event was a lot of fun and I like that there were a lot of incentives to discuss our strengths, including the Haiku contest and the open mic,” Mitchell said. “I really enjoyed sitting with friends, drawing, and getting a chance to relax.”
Zimmerman hopes students will continue to find new ways to add skills and knowledge and practice boosting their strengths and areas where they flourish.
“When we incorporate our talents and strengths into our daily lives, we are more fully engaged and fulfilled which allows us to thrive,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman encourages students to stay tuned for more strengths events coming in the fall. For anyone who hasn’t taken the StrengthsFinder inventory and would like to, just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get a free code.