Words can heal as well as hurt. Words help an expression of your inner-most thoughts and feelings. St. Xavier’s College, Mapusa celebrated words during the second edition of their English festival WordsUp. The two day English language fiesta was held on the 9th and 10th of February at the college campus with ‘writers’ corners’ as a curtain raiser on the 8th, for all English literature enthusiasts. This year the Department of English took the competition a notch up by inviting colleges outside Goa.
Twelve Colleges with about 360 participants, more than 300 volunteers from different departments of St. Xavier’s, as well as faculty members from different colleges came together to celebrate the English Language at WordsUp. Don Bosco College, Panjim, Symbiosis, Pune, V.M. Salgaocar College of Law, Miramar, Fr.Agnel’s College of Arts and Commerce, Pilar, Carmel College for Women, Nuvem and Government College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Sanquelim were some of the colleges that participated in WordsUp 2018.
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‘Writers’ Corner’ saw Wendell Rodricks in conversation with Ibha Gupta as he spoke to a packed auditorium about his newly released book Poskem. In addition to giving the audience a glimpse into the origins of his feisty characters Wendell spoke to the students about his experiences as a writer and his favourite authors as a child. He stated that his book was an apology to all the Poskim, the adopted childrenin Goa who have been relegated to the shadows and hidden in the dark recesses of rich Goan households. The second session was a panel discussion on “What Qualifies as Literature Today? Reviewing Literary Discourse post Bob Dylan.” The panel comprised of some well-known names on the literary scene, Vivek Menezes, co-founder of the Goa Arts and Literature Festival (GALF) and columnist for the Times of India, Literary Critic and Academician Jugneeta Sudan and Jose Lourenco, published author and founder-member of the Goa Writers Group. The discussion was moderated by Gail Pinto, an ex-student of St. Xavier’s College. The panellists threw some light on how literature is perceived in the 21st century, especially after singer/lyricist Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. The discussion revolved around Dylan’s song lyrics focussing on all his music being deeply rooted in history, human suffering and oppression. Jose Lourenco added a musical touch to the proceedings by singing a few songs from Bob Dylan’s repertoire. Writers’ Corner also had an open mic session in the afternoon where local artists performed and budding poets read out their poems.
The theme for WordsUp this year was one that pulled the strings of everyone’s heart, Cartoons. “We all grew up watching Cartoon Network. Everyone from our generation knows them and loves them. This was atheme that every participant could connect with and it made the whole experience more fun and entertaining” says the dynamic student Coordinator of WordsUp Nadia Desouza.
WordsUp challenged the contestants with unique competitions like Rap-it-Up(Rap battle) while still testing participants with old favourites of language competitions like Scoo-bee-doo-bee-doo (Spelling Bee), Space Jam (JAM) and Yabba Taboo Doo (Taboo). Other events to test the participants on their knowledge of toony topics were Road Runner(Treasure Hunt), The Third Wheel (Dance), Colourtoons (Wall Painting),Woody Wordpicker (Crossword) and Smarter than the average bear (Quiz). Through all the 31 events, the competitive spirit was very strong among the participants but everyone found the experience extremely rewarding. “The competitions provided a creative space for all of us and I think there was amazing content created in almost every competition,” says Lester D’souza from Dhempe College of Arts and Science, Miramar, the winning team of WordsUp 2018. “WordsUp was a morale booster for any fresher. It was much more than a competition. The judges were really encouraging and all the volunteers were warm and friendly. The theme ‘Retro Cartoons’ reminded us of our cherished childhood,” says Daniel Fernandes, from Shree Damodar College of Commerce and Economics. WordsUp was kept open to all colleges, regardless of whether they offer English Literature as a major.
“The English language unites students across departments and streams, from BBA to Science,” said Principal Dr.Fr.Jeronimo D’Silva as he addressed students, volunteers, participants and faculty members of participating colleges during the inaugural function of WordsUp. He went on to appreciate the months of effort put in by the students and the department of English during the preparation of the event. The student volunteers set the tone for the festivities spanning two days with an acapella performance which showcased tunes from cartoon shows of the 90s like Scooby doo, Pink Panther, The Flintstones and The Addams Family. Ms. Yvonne Nunes, a retired English teacher from St. Xavier’s Higher Secondary, Mapusa was the chief guest. She congratulated the organizers of WordsUp for providing students with a platform to explore their different talents. The newsletter of the Department of English, ‘Eloquence’ was also released at the hands of the Chief Guest, Principal and Head of the Department of English, Dr.Prema Rocha.
Stand Up comedian Ashish Acharjya and RJ Mark Rocha, both alumni of St.Xavier’s performed for the participants at WordsUp. Youtuber of the ‘Waking Grunt’ fame Amit Naik, popular food and travel blogger Jade Desa and well known artist Joseph Zola judged some of the on-stage and off-stage events. Goa’s upcoming band ‘The Coffee Cats’ belted out a few popular tunes as students and participants got groovy next to the stage just before the closing ceremony. Dhempe College of Arts and Science was awarded the first place and S.S. Dempo College of Commerce and Economics emerged runners up.
Faculty coordinator of WordsUp Mr. Aaron Paul Fernandes says, “WordsUp has evolved as a festival to become a national event. For this edition, we had some new events like Meme, Muscular Hangman and Illustrated Missives. We also invited pop up stalls which had various items like make-up, accessories and books for sale. Through WordsUp we have tried to go beyond the preconceptions of traditional English events by including events like Rap Battle and Twitter Wars into the competition. We are eager to welcome more national colleges next year.”