Sewanee SOUP raises funds for community projects

By Hadley Montgomery

Executive Staff

The Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Club hosted the event Sewanee SOUP in the Mary Sue Cushman room on March 1. Approximately one hundred people attended the SOUP event, which was catered by Julia’s, Ivy Wild, Sewanee Dining, Natural Bridge Catering, and The Bread Peddler. Many organizations on campus sponsored the event: ESI, Sustain Sewanee, Angel Capital Fund, Alpha Phi Omega, the Business House, and the Hispanic Organization for Latino Awareness. The event, inspired by potluck crowd funding around the country, provided a platform for students and community members to present proposals for projects in and around Sewanee. Prior to the event, proposals for projects were submitted, and four were chosen to present at the Soup night. Each of the four presented projects had four minutes to explain their idea. After the presentations, the crowd asked four questions about the project.

Rebecca Brewer (C’18), an attendee, said, “This event was a great opportunity to learn about some of the great ideas both students and community members hope to implement, along with a great meal and fellowship.” The first of the four projects, The Green Space, presented by Sabeth Jackson and Chris Young, focused on “building a community by providing a creative gathering space.” This creative gathering space is The Green Space, located in downtown Sewanee. The space “provides a pottery studio for Sewanee students, for families in a home-schooling co-op called the Green Club, and for a Boy Scout Troup.” If the funding were awarded to The Green Space, the organization would use the money for improvements to the building.

Margo Shea, Catherine Casselman (C’17), Dallas Snyder (C’17), Tyler Fishback (C’17), and Madison Willis (C’16) presented Around Here: The Places Project. The Places Project “aims to collect, share and save the stories of the places that matter to the people who live and work on and around the mountain.” The project aspires to break down stereotypes amongst residents of the mountain. The project has a Facebook page, Around Here: The Places Project, and a website,, for people to tell their story.

Lauren Newman (C’18) presented The Eco Art Competition. Newman’s idea is for “a recycled art of ‘eco-art’ competition open to all ages and skill levels across the South Cumberland Plateau community.” The team’s hope is to raise awareness regarding the waste crisis of our world. Kids within the local elementary, middle, and high schools would create art out of “waste” from their lives, compiling them into an art exhibit.

The winner of the Sewanee Soup Night was Nora Viñas (C’17) with her project: DIVAS. DIVAS, a program Viñas began her freshman year of college, stands for dreamer,  independent, valuable, ambitious, and strong and is a mentoring program within Franklin County High School. The program targets young women within the school to “encourage the girls to work towards their dreams and harness the values and identity installed in DIVAS.” Viñas will use the money to begin a scholarship fund for the women within the program. The scholarship will provide financial assistance to girls in the program seeking higher education. Viñas was “overjoyed that the Soup funding will directly benefit the first graduating class of DIVAS. It will encourage the mentors for the class of 2018, 2019, and onward, to go the extra mile for their girls. This is the beginning of a yearlong fundraising campaign of financing the dreams of Franklin County High School’s DIVAS class of 2017.”