Students, Faculty, Staff Invited to Inaugural Open Mic Event

By: Adriana Avila, Staff Reporter | Photo By: Stefany Olivas, Managing Editor

CNM will host its first monthly open mic and poetry event this month, said part time SAGE instructor Catherine Arellano.

The event will be held in the Main campus library on Oct. 18 at 3 p.m. and will feature Albuquerque’s first poet laure­ate, Hakim Bellamy, and local poet, musical artist and author Andrea Serrano, said Arellano.

Arellano said she was inspired to start CNM Speaks because her students would write rap lyrics and stories out­side of class, but had no outlet to share their work.

“I see that my students are creative,” said Arellano, “This will hopefully provide them with more of an outlet — and not just my students, but any CNM student.”

The motivation behind the monthly event is to build a stron­ger community on campus. She would like to see a community in which students are connected, she said. Other colleges and universities are more connected because they live on campus and since CNM does not offer hous­ing or dormitories, it lacks that connection, said Arellano.

This lack of cohesion has also made it difficult to get the word out about special events on campus, she said. “There is some community, but it’s harder to build,” Arellano said, “Whatever we have to do to encourage it, let’s do it.”

Reference Librarian Olivia Baca said she is the co-coor­dinator for the event and has been working with Arellano on raising awareness for the event throughout the school.

Coordinating outreach for the libraries and finding opportunities to educate stu­dents woutside of the classroom setting are important aspects of her job, she said.

CNM Speaks is a good fit with the library because it is a combination of cultural and educational interests, she said.

“It’s really going to help stu­dents reconsider themselves as poets because of the quality of presenters,” said Baca.

Baca said she hopes the event will help students relate poetry to their own lives and look at it in ways they have not looked at it before.

Baca said she believes that the poets will inspire the audience members to express themselves.

“I think they are really going to engage and leave an impres­sion with the audience mem­bers,” Baca said.

Arellano said she and Serrano used to read their poetry together so when Arellano asked if Serrano would come it was not a tough decision.

Before Serrano created her open mic and poetry series, it was just an idea. She made it happen and she wants to do the same for CNM Speaks, said Arellano.

“Taking spoken word into CNM is a really power­ful thing and I think it has potential to get a whole crop of poets going,” said Serrano.

The Oct. 18 event will have five slots available for interested students, faculty or staff to share poetry, short stories, songs or any other creative works, said Arellano.

For more information on CNM Speaks, contact Baca at or Arellano at carellano10@

“I hope this event goes on for years and years,” said Arellano.

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