On Friday, Feb. 16, 11 teams of students gathered in Lowe Dayton Arts Commons to participate in Macalester’s first annual MacroBurst competition – an event which challenged participants to develop an original artistic performance over a sleepless 24 hours.
MacroBurst replaced Funkathon, which focused exclusively on musical performances. Its rebranding reflects the school’s decision to open up the event to a variety of creative mediums.
“We really wanted to nudge the event open,” Entrepreneur in Residence Kate Ryan Reiling ’00 said. “That was really based on a lot of student requests who wanted to do things other than music. We just thought it just made sense at that point to change the name to imply something more creative and less within the musical genre.”
The theme of the event was ‘stories’. The teams, each competing for a grand prize of $1,000, were evaluated by nine Macalester alumni judges on their performance style, theme, creativity and creative risk.
The new event was developed by Macalester’s entrepreneurship program, and that program was responsible for all of its logistics: managing the application process, selecting the judges and organizing the teams.
The winning team was ‘Winnie and the People’. Their piece – a picture-book called “A Bedtime Story for College Students” – combined story-writing, soundscape, projection, performance art and illustration. The story addressed some of the challenges that college students face, including identity, anxiety and relationships.
Dressed in pajamas and carrying blankets and pillows, the team read the story outloud to the audience while pages of the book, accompanied by a soundtrack, were projected behind them.
For Winnie and the People, creating art and having fun collaboratively was more important than the prize money.
“We were one hundred percent not expecting to win,” team member Trevor Zapiecki ’19 said.
While sister event Macathon highlights the technical skill required to develop, write and pitch a business plan, MacroBurst focuses on the creative aspects of entrepreneurship.
“One of our mantras in entrepreneurship is making something out of nothing,” Entrepreneurship Coordinator Jody Emmings said. “And that’s the essence of this creativity contest.”
“I think entrepreneurship is about hope and about our possibility to make an impact on the world,” she continued.
As MacroBurst’s identity develops, entrepreneurship will continue to reach out to students for their input.
“We’d just really like to keep listening to and paying attention to what resonates with students and what they want, and really co-create events and experiences with them,” Reiling said.
“I hope that through these events students believe in their ability to make an impact.”