By Hadley Montgomery
The first Sewanee SOUP night, sponsored by the Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Club, will be held on March 1 at 6 p.m. in the Mary Sue Cushman Room. Sewanee SOUP provides a new alternative way of crowd funding for Sewanee organizations. The president of ESI Adreyauna Lewers (C’16) said, “When ESI first began, we were dead set on assuring that all our members walked away at the end of the academic year with a business plan, a pitch, and a product.”
Many other large cities participate in potluck dinner style fundraising, focusing on human interaction between neighbors as opposed to impersonal social media outlets. The Detroit SOUP Organization hosts neighborhood soups and city-wide soups. In these soups, community members focus on neighborhood projects within the Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park area. Thus far, Detroit Soup has raised $115,706 for Detroiters from Detroiters. The SOUP Nights create a sense of community between people of differing backgrounds working for a common goal of bettering Detroit.
The hard work of the ESI Club made this new way of crowd funding possible at Sewanee. As Lewers said, “This SOUP night is us as a club talking about what we have learned and putting it into action.” Community based projects and any other project proposals were due February 17. Out of the proposals submitted, four are chosen to present their final ideas during the Sewanee SOUP event on March 1. These four presentations will be voted upon by the crowd attending the event to decide who will receive funding for their project.
At the event, local businesses including Ivy Wild, The Bread Peddler, The Blue Chair, Julia’s, Sewanee Dining, and Natural Bridge Catering will provide soup, salad, bread, and tea. Student organizations from all facets of Sewanee are donating funds, volunteering service hours, and selling tickets. In the weeks leading up to the event, tickets are available for five dollars in McClurg and in the Babson Center for Global Commerce. The money from tickets sold contributes to the “SOUP Fund.” This will be awarded to the project proposal with the most votes by the attendees, and will provide “a wonderful opportunity for members of the community to eat together, think together, and make a change together,” according to Cole Porter (’19).