Campus - Studium Generale - Epic Poetry Party

Campus Poet

The Tilburg University Campus Poet reflects on campus life, academic education and science, front-burner societal themes, emotions, and life in general. In this way, the Campus Poet brings campus culture to life and makes it visible.

Are you the new 2024 Campus Poet?

Do you enjoy writing poetry yourself, or do you have stacks of poems tucked away somewhere that you never had the chance or opportunity to share? Here's your chance to provide the campus with your poetic commentary for a year. Sign up now for the 2024 Campus Poet Election!

On February 20th Studium Generale organizes an Open Mic & Poetry Night where the new campus poet will also be elected. During this evening, the participants read one or more of their submitted poems. After this, a professional jury will decide who the campus poet 2024 will be. Your performance on that evening will be weighted.

Join the election!

Are you a student or employee of the university (including the entire year 2024) and want to participate? Here's what you need to do:

  • Send a Word- or PDF-file with three poems, one of which has the theme 'campus life', to before February 2nd, 2024.
  • Your poems may be in Dutch or English.
  • Please include your name, age, field of study or position, ANR and contact information with your entry.

If you win the election, you can start as the Tilburg University Campus Poet 2024 immediately. For your poetic efforts during the year you will receive a stipend of 500 euros.

What does the Campus Poet do?

The Campus Poet comments poetically, both on request and at his/her own initiative, on campus life, studying, and science and on current themes in society, emotions, and life in general. Poems are published in Univers a few times a year and are presented live during various Studium Generale events and at large events like Night University. 



The 2023 Campus Poet

In honor of National Poetry Day, Studium Generale organized an Open Stage & Poetry Night on Wednesday, Feb. 1, where the new campus poet has been selected. Student Chinenye Oguejiofor may call herself Tilburg University’s 2023 campus poet! In the coming year, she will provide campus life with poetic commentary. Chinenye takes over from Trijntje van de Wouw. 

Campus Poet 2023 - Chinenye Oguejiofor

“As the new campus poet, I want to provide insights into students’ feelings and emotions. Occasionally, these may be insights that apply especially to international students, but I want everyone to feel that I am giving them a voice, including my own.” Humor is an important ingredient in this for Chinenye: “It would also be great to make people laugh from time to time.” Read the entire interview with Chinenye on Univers's website

Read poems by Chinenye:

The Box is always in sight

The four walls of your bedroom are comforting to you
But the four walls of a prison cell would feel different

When we were children we were told to aim for the stars 
And if we missed we would hit the clouds
But now if we think back more clearly
We could barely see past the trees

Have you heard the sound of a dying dream
It sounds too much like a choking laugh
The owner of the laugh is snuggled into their struggle
But the dream seeps out of them like leaking gas

If your thoughts can never exceed your experience 
Then your mind will be a graveyard for all your dreams
Your heart, a tombstone for all you loved and wished
Your eyes, a glass case where the flowers of your soul 
Are withering as your tears rarely water them

How can you take a risk when you have a backup plan
How can you take a leap of faith when jump off a step
How can you wish for better but make no effort
How can you wish for sun but your curtains are closed

‘Think outside the box’, cliche but relevant
Some live in the box and have made it their dwelling 
Like children making a fort out of a television box
We forge our happiness to come from the experience
Of not having what we want

The girl

There was a girl I once knew
She liked taking short walks in her free time
She loved to collect dead flowers then throw them away
She enjoyed watching as it rained while the sun was out

There was a girl I once knew
She hated long conversations that clearly bored her
She never took her time to chew before she swallowed
And a green vegetable had no place on her dinner plate

She is not me or you but she longs to be either one

She back pedalled in everything she did
She spent time hating when she wanted to love
She spent time alone when she wanted company
She spent time walking when she wanted to run

There’s a girl I want to get to know
One who takes long walks and feels the sun on her skin
One who collects scented flowers and gifts them
One who lets the sun’s heat melt her from the inside

There’s a girl I want to get to know
One who chats so much you see the steam in her mouth
One who chews as though time were her servant
One who looks at a healthy diet as a lifeline

Sick from home

They should have warned me about the time
The time spent wishing
The time spent wanting
The time spent crying

Someone should have told me about the prices
The price of rent and energy bills
The price of food and transport
The price of not seeing loved ones for years while sacrificing to achieve your dreams

If I could swim across the ocean to see them I would
Yet I have to swim across the sea of seasonal depression
When I forget to take my vitamin D pills

I call. When I can
When I can muster the strength to hold back tears
And can pick my thoughts up from the dampness of my pillow

It’s not all bad, I have a community in Tilburg
I have a family member here
I even have friends! My mom would be so happy to meet my friends

But my friends can't meet my mom
I mean they can call her but no one ever really talks about the non-monetary price of having to leave

At first the well of emotions draws you in
You’re free!
But then you begin to miss the noise, miss the chaos, miss the lack of time management

I wish someone - anyone would have told me
Even the immigration official could have said “Hey! Little girl, it gets cold over there”
Cold? That’s alright I can just get a jacket

No, it gets really cold
The kind of cold you only feel in your soul
The kind of cold that only the African sun can heat up
The kind of cold your mother’s warm hugs make you feel

Our little corner of the world

The sun is not our friend for most of the year
In Tilburg she hides, perhaps out of fear
Fear that she might heat up the entire place
Fear that in Tilburg, there won't be a trace

A trace of laughter from a couple sharing hot chocolate
A trace of trembling shoulders from a student who’s late
She won’t come out till Spring at least
By then the school year is over and students feast

Her companion, the wind makes us shudder in Winter
On rainy days, we could tell he missed her
He lashes out on residents just trying to cycle
By lifting them in the air, he feels no pity, he spirals

When the Wind feels he’s had enough for one day
He lets his brother Rain come in Autumn to take our warmth away
Rain comes out often, relentlessly proud
And sometimes unashamedly he’s effortlessly loud

He muddies up the Spoorpark, he fills up the gutters
What’s worse, he leaves the students all drenched as they stutter
Most people don't drive, so they cycle all wet
While Rain watches on, no morsel of regret

“Jij bent niet van suiker gemaakt!” people say to themselves

But wait! It’s summer again, that means she’s returned!
Our hope, our ray, our sunshine! She burns!
She lights up the town and provides us with heat
She leaves fear behind, makes Rain obsolete

The Seat

The door opens at eight o’clock in the morning
The floor is silent, the chairs are empty and the screens black
I select a seat by the window so I can watch as people cycle by
Open up my laptop, drink my coffee and cut myself some slack

At 9am people start to enter, the first hour is the worst
I fidget every time someone walks by, wondering if they’ll say something
At 10am I ease into my seat, I own the place, I feel complete
I’m so relaxed I forget I’m there and even begin humming while drumming

Two more hours go by and I feel I’m in the clear
The tension is released, the library is bustling yet I feel I’m the only one there
But then I feel it. A presence. Beside me. Hovering over me.
I look up and there’s a girl. Not looking at me but just past me.

“Hi, I think I reserved this seat. Is it okay if you move?”
I blink. I blink twice for good measure and remove my headphones just to be sure
She reserved it? She reserved it?!
Suddenly the past 4 hours of relaxation felt premature

What do you even say to that? What can you even do?
She reserved it of course but what about you?!

You who sat in that chair for 4 hours before she arrived
You who waited anxiously for someone else to surmise
That that was not your seat, you didn’t make a booking
You only managed to find an empty seat but now…you’ll have to go looking

You who will have to walk around the library acting homeless
You who can practically hear the thoughts of passersby
Saying “She didn't even make a reservation. Of course she was asked to move”
You’ll shuffle along, knowing they all disapprove

I mumble a quick apology and hurriedly gather my things
I’m dropping pens and books and bottles in every direction
Why didn’t she do this at 8am when I wouldn’t be walking on pins
When it wouldn’t feel like everyone is staring through my embarrassing collection

Maybe next time it won't be reserved
Or may she’ll be on time
One thing I know is, I’ll never remember to make a reservation online

Let's Play! (Inspired by Night University 2023)

What would you like to be taught today
The options vary, don’t be shy, everyone’s here to learn
Leave your bad sportsmanship by the door
And please remember to keep high spirits till we adjourn

Now, let’s get started
In a game of true wit there is no winner or loser
In a game of chess there is no checkmate or stalemate
There is simply a player whose intelligence saw the future

Three quick lessons to be learnt today
Lesson one, a game is never just a game
Even children take something away from the game of tag
What you take from it is up to you, whether victory or shame

Lesson two, you decide whether you have opponents or allies
In a political debate there is no such thing as a winner
All parties want the best outcome from the situation
But if you know the game well enough then you can choose to paint others as saint or sinner

Lesson three, always remember that you’re playing
Simply that! You’re meant to have fun and feel no shame
We all pick our poison as to what we enjoy
So why not use this chance to feel like a child again

The university provides it all tonight
Pick from your poison to your heart’s delight
Whether it's debates and talks or board games and walks
Tonight we play, show no restraint nor any delay