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Penn State W.O.R.D.S. Wins Annual CUPSI Tournament

What they got? Words — and plenty of good ones, too.

Last week, Penn State W.O.R.D.S. (Writers Organized to Represent Diverse Stories) took home the gold, figuratively speaking, at the 2019 CUPSI tournament. The organization came in first place at the annual invitational for the first time ever.

CUPSI stands for College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational. The competition is an event that the Association of College Universities International (ACUI) puts on every year. Penn State has only been competing since 2016, but W.O.R.D.S. been quick to make its mark.

The invitational was held at the University of Houston this year. The Penn State W.O.R.D.S team featured four poets — Seckin Kara, Fatimah Ally, Rabiyatu Jalloh, and Cleo Roseboro — as well as their coach, Asia Bryant-Wilkerson, a poet from Los Angeles who’s now studying in New York.

Throughout the tournament, every team competes against four or five other teams for two preliminary rounds. The top 20 teams then go on to compete in the semifinal rounds, which are comprised of five teams each. The best of each final round finishes the whole thing off at the final stage. The winning team at the final stage wins the CUPSI for that year.

Penn State made it through every single round and beat out 58 other teams to be crowned the top team in the nation.

“W.O.R.D.S. is a space of reminiscence,” said Fatimah Ally, W.O.R.D.S. vice president. “It’s soft and caring. It’s love in a room and between people. W.O.R.D.S. has been the defining factor in our lives and the friendships and relationships we’ve built, and the incredible opportunities we’ve had. It’s a space of cultivation, art, expression, and community.”

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About the Author

Emma Dieter

Emma is a senior from the ever-popular "right-outside" Philly area studying labor employment relations and PR. She's also the Student Life editor for Onward State. She has been a Penn Stater from cradle and will continue to bleed blue and white, 'til grave. She loves trashy romance novels, watching Netflix, and crying over cute videos of dogs. If you ever want to talk more with her about how great she is, or simply have other inquiries, feel free to email her at [email protected]


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