New club earns UCF’s highest honors


Project Spit / Courtesy Photo

Project Spit attended the CUPSI Invitational at Virginia Commonwealth University this past March and plan to attend next year.

Student Poetry Initiating Thought, also known as Project Spit participated in the annual CUPSI poetry slam this year putting the new UCF club on the map.

Project Spit is a organization established by co-founder, UCF student and poet Shelby Birch along with Sapphire Huie in 2013.

Within the first year of being established on campus, Project Spit was recognized for New Organization of the Year by the University. The club also won the Student Organization of the Year at the Mahogany Awards Ball, a UCF awards ceremony for multicultural student organizations that don’t necessarily get recognized by the university.

With all of the recent and abrupt success, Project spit have more than enough reason to celebrate.

“The feeling is still surreal, just to know that the idea, a simple idea that really came into ferision that helped to inspire people to find themselves and their voice, and to know that we’re giving back to the UCF community at the same time.. it’s a great feeling.” said Birch about their recent success.

Project Spit had it’s fair share of ups and downs however faculty adviser Anthony Major has been Project Spit’s number one support system.

“Mr. Major always had our backs, he encouraged us to travel to competitions. Whenever we need him for something or to back us up he’s always there.. He talks about us all the time, he wears our t-shirts, Mr. Major for sure is our biggest support system.” said Birch about their club’s adviser.

A support system is important when you are a new organization on campus and trying to find your identity.  Birch feels that their true identity was misunderstood in the beginning. Project spit often received noise complaints because it wasn’t well understood that they are not only artists but artists who perform.

As project spit began to grow it gave artists, not only poets an avenue for creativity and self expression.

“Poetry is just a fantastic way of expression, it’s all about calling things to action and conveying a message.  I personally feel that poetry is a way to say what everyone is afraid to say.” said one of project spits members Charles Hines who has been writing for a long time but just recently became involved in slam competition.,

The growth and expansion of Project Spit around the UCF campus made the members of this organization more eager grow, to expand their horizons and to really put Project Spit on the map.

CUPSI is the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational, which is a national collegiate poetry slam which has been around for 15 years.  All the major schools participate from Ivy Leagues such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown etc. to UCLA, Colorado to this past CUPSI winners NYU.

When it was decided for Project to enter into CUPSI, all the members were excited, however Birch was a little apprehensive because it was their first major state wide competition and the organization was still so young. However Birch gives credit to slam coordinator Vana Rose for taking the initiative and developing a team for the competition.

Being that Project Spit was new to the competitive aspects of the poetry world, they managed to do very well.  Birch says, “It was amazing, it was like no other.  To be around your peers who get it and loved what we did.”

For next year Project spit plans on making it to the final stage, and even to win CUPSI. This year project spit was the only team from Florida, and the only team to represent Florida in a few years so bringing home that win will put UCF along with Florida on the map.

“We want to expand, we want to make Project Spit not just that new poetry organization, we want people to know who we are… We want Project Spit to expand beyond UCF, we want to have other branches and chapters…Like Project Spit USF or Project Spit Rollins. We want to have a heavier presence in the Orlando poetry community.  We want to make poetry accessible for everyone.” said Birch about his hopes for expansion.

No matter what avenue this organization decides to take their future is looking bright from here.