Marching toward Manifest 2015


Cassidy Johnson

Manifest 2015

By Campus Editor

Graduating students, led by Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Success, and the Jones College Prep High School marching band will march down Wabash Avenue on May 15, chanting, “Hell yeah, I did it!” celebrating their graduation and kicking off Manifest 2015. 

Manifest, an annual end-of-the-year celebration highlighting student work, will display work from more than 2,000 Columbia students in more than 80 different showcases and is expected to draw an audience of about 30,000 to the South Loop, according to Kelly. 

“Every college has its rituals and traditions, and I would argue that a lot of those rituals and traditions can be pretty empty and disconnected to student learning and the educational experience,” Kelly said. “Everything with Manifest ties back to the students.”

The third annual Great Convergence, the march of graduating students that initiates the Manifest festivities, was created with Tonika Todorova, a theatre alumna and the artistic director of the alumni-founded Silent Theatre Company, according to Kari Sommers, assistant dean of Student Life. 

The procession will start at the 623 S. Wabash Ave. Building and end on Wabash Avenue between 9th and 11th streets, where it will be greeted by a student performance from the Theatre Department. Ziplines from the 916 S. Wabash Ave. Building to the main Manifest Tent at 9th Street and Wabash Avenue will overhang the Great Convergence, containing celebratory decorations, according to Sommers. The Great Convergence will then come to a close in the main Manifest tent, where President and CEO Kwang-Wu Kim will address the graduating students in a congratulatory speech.

 “Each year Manifest  involves the entire community to celebrate the work of [Columbia’s] graduating students in a beautiful, interesting, playful, intellectual and stimulating way,” Sommers said.

This year, five student interns were hired to help organize the Manifest celebration, including production intern Rosetta Lane, a junior business & entrepreneurship major, marketing intern Rachel Vena, a sophomore business & entrepreneurship major, sponsorship intern Kevin Sinclair, a freshman business & entrepreneurship major, graduate showcase intern Santiago Covarrubias, a graduate student in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department, and creative director Monique Doron, a junior design major.

This year will also feature a live, interactive zombie film screening in the Sculpture Garden led by students in the Cinema Art + Science Department, according to Vena. Manifest attendees will be able to participate in a screen test, act in the film and take home souvenir footage of the test. 

Two main stages at Manifest will house most of the activities, according to Sommers. Paint Ball, the main stage, located next to 1001 S. Wabash Ave., will feature EDM music from student DJs throughout the day and activities all centered around paint, and the Fulcrum Lot, located next to the 623 S. Wabash Ave. Building, will feature a stage where student bands will perform throughout the day.

Anjel Lopez, a senior business & entrepreneurship major and president of the Student Programming Board, said SPB decided to exclusively book DJs at the main stage to keep the energy high in that area. Also performing at the main stage will be Manifest’s headliners, Chicago-based rock band Twin Peaks and local up-and-coming rapper Saba, Lopez said.

“The focus on Chicago is something that we really tried to pull into this year,” Lopez said. “In the past we’ve had Chance the Rapper, which drew a huge crowd and I think really kicked off that thought process. We’re trying to keep the Chicago pride there and support up-and-coming Chicago artists that could potentially blossom on our Manifest stage.” 

Opening for Manifest’s headliners will be Anthony Pavel, a senior music major and the winner of 2015’s Biggest Mouth competition, who impressed the crowd with his R&B, jazz-infused tunes.

According to Aldo Guzman, assistant director of Student Activities & Leadership, returning to Manifest this year will be a pop-up zipline for students to ride, obstacle courses and other interactive activities that will all be held in the main lot.

“Our school doesn’t have the pep rallies and the football games and all that,” Vena said. “This is the one event each year that really ignites our school spirit and celebrates all of the collaboration that we don’t think about on a day-to-day basis, but it’s just a perfect example of all of our work.”