Booth at Carnegie Mellon University's Carnival is hard to miss; there is always a bustling energy of people interacting with the student organization’s creations. These ambitious projects bring together a variety of groups on campus and, through the frantic setup of booths, show off their capacity for hard work and creativity. This year, in the spirit of the Timehop carnival, the themes for booths seemed to be all over the place. From Road to El Dorado by Kappa Alpha Theta to The Creation by Alpha Epsilon Phi to Scooby Doo: Where’s My Mummy? by Fringe, the seemingly disparate themes were clearly tied together by a strong sense of nostalgia.
Children were running to see the Walt Disney booth by Delta Delta Delta, and — similarly — going with college-aged people, it was easy to sense the nostalgia felt in booths like the ‘90s Cartoons booth by Alpha Phi. Wandering through booths, you could see the love and care these students put into the work just through the details. The hieroglyphics on the Scooby Doo booth were delicate, gold cutouts where the gang was inserted in their iconic running from monsters poses. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon booth by Alpha Chi Omega was a visually stunning experience, with the floral and fabric installations paired with the painting of the lions on the Babylonian Ishtar Gate. It was hard to walk through the '90s Cartoons and Samurai Jack booths without recalling childhood mornings watching cartoons while eating Cocoa Puffs, or some other teeth-rotting cereal of the ‘90s and early ‘00s. The sheer number of cartoon figures painted in the booth, and the way it placed you in each world as you walked through was impressive.
The KGB booth Topple the Czar and the Alpha Epsilon Phi's booth The Creation were examples of booths that took a sense of nostalgia and history and inserted the kind of dry college-humor. The “god’s righteous fist bump” or the game where you quite literally have to topple the czar with a rubber wrecking ball added a sense of play to the detail-oriented decoration of booths. The humor was smart and well-placed, a nice reference to the meme-oriented tendencies of the Carnegie Mellon population. Somewhere between the iconic “History of Japan” video and an incredibly sentimental history museum curated by college students, booth this year — as always — were delightful to see as it took me down a trip through history and memory. By the time this is published, booths will be gone but I look forward to next Carnival when we will get to see the creativity and hard work of these student organizations come together with funnel cake and rides.
Here is a full list of the awards for this year's booths:
1. Sigma Phi Epsilon — Star Wars
2. Delta Tau Delta — Atlantis
3. Alpha Epsilon Pi — The Creation
1. Kappa Kappa Gamma — The Groovy ‘70s
2. Kappa Alpha Theta — The Road to El Dorado
3. Alpha Phi — ‘90s Cartoons
1. Fringe — Scooby Doo: Where’s My Mummy?
2. Taiwanese Student Association — Meet the Robinsons
3. KGB — Topple the Tsar
1. CMU Astronomy Club — The Space Race
2. Chinese Student Association — Tang Dynasty
3. Student Dormitory Council — Mars Colony