Jasmine Faison graduated from Bennett College in 2010, joined the admissions team in 2017 and became the College’s official poet laureate in 2019, so it’s no wonder she associates Bennett with home. Her reason for attending and working for Bennett is the same: “I wanted to know people and for people to know me. Bennett gives me that small, close knit, community-based sisterhood that I desire.”
As the most experienced Bennett College admissions counselor, Faison follows an extensive travel schedule to recruit students, counsels potential students through the admissions process, and manages on-campus admissions events and office logistics. Her favorite thing about being a counselor is watching students she has counseled begin their college career. “I am full of excitement for them because I am involved in the process from the moment I meet them to when they first step foot on campus,” she said. Watching her students arrive is just as reflective as it is exciting. “It is a full 360 moment for me; I see my freshwoman self in those women,” she said. “Someone did this job for me and now I have done it for someone else.”
Faison’s role as the College’s official poet laureate taps a creative spark from an early age: “I always had a knack for language, and learned to speak, read and write early in life. In 4th grade our class project was a poetry book. I remember really enjoying it and my teacher sharing that my writing was more mature and accelerated than the other students’.” As a high school senior, she placed twelfth nationally in a poetry and prose category for a speech and debate league. Later, while attending Bennett she learned of spoken word, a poetic performance art focused on wordplay, intonation and voice inflection, and became a theatre major with a concentration in spoken word.
Her undergraduate experience informs the duties of her newest role: “When I was attending Bennett, I was asked to perform for the college at various events and even taught workshops in Guilford County schools,” she said, so when offered to become the College’s official poet laureate, she quickly accepted. “President Walsh heard the poem I had written and performed for the December Graduation Banquet and asked to meet. Nervous and confused, I agreed. In our meeting she complimented my abilities and asked if I would serve in a poet position for the college. I was so humbled and excited!”
In addition to performing at college events, Faison will be working to provide students with a way to express themselves. “I would love to give them a time, place and opportunity to gather and share with one another,” she said. Her goal is to encourage each student to use poetry in ways that work best for them: “For a while I downplayed my poetry and stopped writing because I felt that my tendency to rhyme was outdated and immature, but once I became comfortable with my style and stopped comparing myself to other artists and their styles, I started writing again. I want students to avoid my mistake and know that they should always be authentic to their creative expression.”