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Special Interest Societies

A successful month for PENsoc

Published 7th Mar 2012

A successful month for PENsoc

By Tom Goulding, Deputy Editor

February has been a busy month for Surrey PEN. From our postcard campaign to themed cupcakes, we have been working hard to promote the importance of free speech across campus. Elsewhere, the English Department has successfully launched its Censorship & Freedom module, proving that efforts to engage with political expression aren’t just important for Surrey students, but Surrey lecturers too.

We kick started the month at Refreshers Fayre, where a dedicated team of helpers were on hand to distribute flyers, literature and bribe new members with the promise of chocolate. Our competition to finish the sentence ‘The worst part of censorship is...’ was also a popular addition; the winning suggestion ‘that it gives way to ignorance’ was thought provoking, sincere and deserving of first prize. To top it all off, the day’s proceedings were of course supervised in ironic silence by our new mascot: Sylvia the Pink Free Speech Bear.

This was quickly followed by the Do>More Volunteering Exhibition, where we encouraged people to write postcards to Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace Prize winning literary critic and humans right activist who is currently being detained due to his work calling for fair political reform in China. The importance of writing postcards is to show appreciation and support for those without a voice, reminding them that they are not alone and have support throughout the world. Our attempt to demonstrate this at the exhibition was not only successful, but also crucial in showing Liu Xiaobo’s efforts have not been in vain.

Finally, the iExhibition proved to be a great conclusion to the month’s events, with our team baking cakes, painting faces and providing more information on how to get involved. “The iExhibition was a great experience for the society”, said PENsoc President Shaun Millis, “We had a lot of support from students of all nationalities and it was great to see so many people having their faces painted in support of free speech throughout the world.”

With even more activities planned for March, including an afternoon with English PEN guest speaker Rob Sharp, there hasn’t been a better time to join Surrey PEN. To find out more, please contact USSU.EnglishPEN@Surrey.ac.uk, or join as a member at Facebook.com/SurreyEnglishPEN.



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