Midway Marketplace adds to Carnival traditions

Spring Carnival this year saw the debut of the Midway Marketplace, which acted as an exhibition for student organizations that don’t otherwise get to participate in Carnival. The Marketplace, located on the edge of Midway, took the place of last year’s side tent, which had been previously used for smaller concerts and performances. Throughout the duration of Spring Carnival, about 40 participants joined in to display an exhibit at The Marketplace.

Midway Marketplace was organized by Vivian Chang, a sophomore science and humanities scholar, and Christopher Vu, a master’s student studying creative enterprise at Heinz College. “We wanted to create a unique system that would reach out to members of the Carnegie Mellon community that traditionally did not participate in Spring Carnival and try to revitalize their school spirit,” Vu said. “Because of this mission, we created a unique format to encompass as many people to be involved in the competition process.”

The two organizers also decided to add a competitive element to the marketplace. “The point of Marketplace was to give an outlet for more of our organizations to showcase their activities, talents, and points to the community,” Chang said. “We wanted organizations that don’t have the manpower to compete in Booth to have an opportunity to engage in Midway and Spring Carnival overall.” The Marketplace entries were judged in one of four categories: Presentations and Displays, Cultural Arts, Merchandise, and Discussion Forum. Participants were judged both by regular spectators who cast paper votes and by hidden judges who masqueraded as regular spectators within the crowd. Due to weather, though, the Midway Marketplace was closed for the entirety of Saturday, and therefore the final round of judging never took place.

Despite this setback, the judges presented the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) with the award for Best in Show, with the Robotics Club and Game Creation Society serving as the first and second runners-up, respectively. Game Creation Society also received first place in the Presentation category, while Robotics Club and SHPE both received the Popularity Award. SHPE also won in the Cultural Arts category. The Tartan and CMU Life Matters Club tied to win in the Discussion category. The Awareness of Roots in Chinese Culture club, which was selling tickets to its annual show “One Night in Beijing,” won in the Merchandise category. Not all of the awards were positive, however; cmuTV received the Wooden Spoon award for worst presentation.

Though the campus participation in Midway Market was encouraging, Vu and Chang are unsure as to whether it will be continued next year. Vu explained, “We received a lot of mixed feedback from the participants ... and if this were to continue, it would be great to open up Marketplace for groups outside CMU, such as UPitt or from all of Pittsburgh proper, to participate and create a healthy community outside of just school.”