Initiative: Networking Event at Tepper
This last week/two weeks have been pretty horrendous for me. When a lot of my classes are project-based, like they are now, I make sure to have my main involvement in the each project to occur at a different time than the others – I spread out the workload. It didn’t happen this time, so things were very hectic.
Additionally, I was trying to set something up outside of school. In my Star Performers class, one of our assignments is to develop and launch an initiative – an activity above and beyond what my usual “responsibilities” as a student are. I chose to plan a networking event between Tepper students and the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) students.
ETC is essentially the video game design program that CMU offers. They are housed in a building away from Main campus by the river – it’s quite nice. You walk in and are immediately greeted by a giant Hulk. There’s a Batman section dedicated to all the films. Across the way from Anthony Daniels’ office (yes, THAT Anthony Daniels) is a collection of Star Wars memorabilia. It’s a geek paradise. I’ve been aware of the program since my first mini, where I joined an entrepreneurial team led by an ETC student looking to create a collaborative iPad game. I reached out to a professor there to ask about the value of the MBA in the industry in Mini 2. Currently I am taking a semester-long course in Game Design.
The Business & Technology club here at Tepper also wanted to set up some sort of networking night and had turned to me for help, so I figured I’d hit two birds with one stone. We faced a bit of a problem however: while it would be fun for Tepper students to stop by and see everyone’s projects at ETC, we could offer nothing in return. Ideally, for these things to work, there needed to be a mutual exchange. We pondered over this – what could Business students provide that would be beneficial to Game Design students? I know from my own experiences that Business folks – or “suits” – are not held in too high a regard with Game Design folks. I believe it’s the thought that we’re only focused on money and not fun. So I wanted to offer something that wouldn’t be considered boring or too suit-y.
Most of the suggestions revolved around being entrepreneurial. I wasn’t satisfied with that. It still seemed boring.
The ETC professors referred me to the ETC student reps, who turned out to be the GSA representatives, to work with them instead. I actually felt more comfortable that way; a student-led initiative was much more interesting that something faculty-directed. However, getting everyone in the same room was like herding cats. When we finally got most of the folks together, it was this amazing synergy of enthusiasm, creativity, and wonder. The ETC reps were immediately onboard and excited! We threw ideas around until something stuck that satisfied me and them. We settled on a date, a place, a time – it was crazy productive. We still were in the air about alcohol service and how much we had to spend.. but that was for later.
Over the last week, those details have been ironed out, and we’re ready to start advertising for the event. It’s for Feb 23, and I can’t wait!