Open Mic at the MIC


Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

The MIC Speaker Lab is on the fifth floor of Johnston Hall.

The MIC Speakers Lab is on the fifth floor of Johnston Hall. Offering brainstorming sessions, public speaking tutoring and speech advice, the MIC is one of the most useful resources students. But this semester, the team of tutors want to introduce something new.

They are hoping to begin a sequence of open mic nights and mixers held within the lab: As of right now, there are no events scheduled, but the team is hoping to host events on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The open mic nights will be open to all Marquette students, but the MIC is trying to get into contact with clubs on campus and encourage them to participate. 

“We really want to feature different Marquette voices, so we’re just trying to find the best way to do that,” Katie Darragh, a sophomore in the College of Communication and tutor in the MIC Lab, said.

Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, but the MIC staff want students to feel comfortable and they are doing their best to make it so. Professor Tracey Sturgal, Interim Chair of Communication Studies and Strategic Communication and Director of the MIC Speakers Lab, hopes to bring in students with various backgrounds and stories.

“A true open mic night is where you can do anything,” Sturgal said. “We want to allow it to be organic and what people want it to be. We are here to help you tell your story and if you want to be heard, come to the MIC.”

The mixers were developed to help students create connections and meet others within the college. After Sturgal received many comments about these concerns from students last year, she and her team worked together to devise this idea.

All of these events will take place against a backdrop of various paintings from current Marquette students. Jordyn Vena, a first-year in the College of Arts & Sciences, painted a mural displayed on the MIC’s wall.

Her piece, titled “Smile for Me,” features four regal women who, coincidentally, are not smiling. However, Vena has a reason behind her artistry. 

“I thought [the title] was kind of ironic, partly because none of the women in the portrait are smiling but it ties into the fact that that’s a common phrase that men use to catcall women … [and] I wanted to show a sense of empowerment in that picture with the fact that they’re not [smiling],” Vena said.

Each canvas has an intense story behind it that Sturgal hopes the artists will share. To encourage this, Sturgal has asked each student to write a summary about their inspiration that they can share at an open mic night.

“Personally, I’m very inspired by feminism, diversity, unity and I wanted to tie those elements into my piece, and I feel like that’s also part of Marquette’s main mission statement, is to incorporate those things into conversations and our lives,” Vena said. “That was a huge part of the reason I made it, was to start conversations.” 

While nothing is set in stone yet, keep an eye out for information about any of the events happening. For now, be sure to stop by the MIC to view the art, attend some tutoring or even just do some studying. 

This story was written by Izzy Fonfara Drewel. She can be reached at [email protected].

Check out the audio package for this story created by A&E Audio Producer Julianna Okosun.