By Kahleah Gaither

There are more than 600 recognized student organizations on Mizzou’s campus and numerous opportunities you can partake in to connect with your fellow Tigers. ZOU Soul is one of those organizations and a great example of a safe space on campus where you can openly express yourself through poetry and music.

ZOU Soul is a Black-led student organization welcoming all MU students. Finding student organizations that you feel safe and comfortable in is very crucial for college students; isolation is a growing concern in students caused by many different factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and academic stress. Art is known to lower stress levels and encourage mental serenity. Through poetry and music, encounters are divided among one another and impart values and ideals in oneself. 

Zeph France, the current vice president of ZOU Soul, states that the organization’s goal “is to just be a hub for Black students. There are a lot of different organizations and a lot of different niches for Black students to be a part of, but ultimately we are not necessarily sure if there’s one space for every person to go and enjoy the Black culture and enjoy what makes our culture special. So we want to make sure that it can be in the hands of the students and not be something that has to be reinstated again. It can just be something that is occurring for however long it is supposed to and provides that same experience for the kids that are here. Also, for all the students that when we leave it will still be here.”

ZOU Soul stopped holding events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so this is the organization’s first year back and running. From singing to rapping to poetry, ZOU Soul welcomes it all.

France defines ZOU Soul as “a form of creativity for students on campus, anybody who likes to do poetry, spoken word, rapping, singing, anything like that. This is the place for them to come and be heard and supported. There is a lot of potential here, creative potential, and this is the place for it to be guarded and nurtured.”

ZOU Soul is held every first Monday and third Wednesday of the month at the Shack inside the MU Student Center.

Edited by Ryan Cohen