Students can destress through The Cloud Machine project
Students are so often told to get their heads out of the clouds, but now they are being given the opportunity to do the exact opposite.
For the next few weeks, a project entitled The Cloud Machine can be found in McKillop Library. Even during the hectic end of the semester, students can stop by, relax and lose themselves in the creation of words.
The Cloud Machine provides students and members of the community with a writing prompt to do with what they please. The goal of this project is to give the Salve Regina community a chance to slow down, daydream and be present — and possibly use a typewriter for the first time.
The idea of The Cloud Machine was developed by Dr. Jen McClanaghan, associate professor in the Department of English, Communications and Media. McClanaghan is also a member of the McAuley Scholars, and she’s part of a cohort of faculty whose focus is on the earth and climate justice.
“As a writer, I wanted to create a poetry shed,” McClanaghan explained. “An actual shed with a typewriter where students and community members could gather and type and look outside and be inspired, but then the pandemic hit so we did away with the shed but kept the typewriter.”
Over the span of the Fall 2021 semester, The Cloud Machine was also able to evolve into other opportunities. One example is that the students in McClanaghan’s “Cotton” class worked together to write, type and sew a quilt, creating a physical representation of the power of words and the origin of cotton.
Another project that stemmed out of The Cloud Machine is called the Message in a Bottle project. Anyone can type a wish or quote of their choosing and place it in one of the 80 miniature glass bottles hanging over The Cloud Machine.
“One hope is that it brings joy to people,” McClanaghan explained. “Another is that it helps us slow our pace, have a few moments of daydreaming and be present to what’s around us.”
The ultimate call of The Cloud Machine is to get students and the community to explore their creativity and relax in a world that is moving so fast.
“There’s no delete, there’s no electricity,” said McClanaghan. “It’s wonderfully non-tech, which I think helps move us closer to the environment and to a child-like space of play and wonder.”
Students are also encouraged to stop by the first floor of McKillop Library on Thursday, April 21, at 4 p.m. during Earth Week to see the other McAuley Scholar professors present their initiatives on earth and climate justice. More details on Earth Week can be found here.
Article written by student writer Taylor Majkowicz ’22