May Week Mega Event invites entries from students and staff for online celebration

The first-of-its-kind May Week Mega Event invites students and staff to showcase the talent and diversity of the Cambridge community – through performance and features – to be livestreamed on 28 June 2020.

The May Week Mega Event will feature well-known bands and crowd-sourced segments and features from students and staff across Cambridge in ‘an online celebration of May Week to unite all of Cambridge and mark the end of a tough year in style.’

Three student organisations – May Week Alternative, RAG and the May Ball Presidents’ Committee – have joined forces to stage the event, which was conceived by Trinity student George Rosenfeld.

The languages-turned-politics student founded May Week Alternative (MWA) in 2018 to change student thinking about charitable giving. More than 500 students have joined the movement, which this year alone has raised £100,000 for the Against Malaria Foundation.

With MWA’s summer event and future planning stymied by the pandemic, George, by now in lockdown at home, channelled his energy into devising a major event to enable all Cambridge students to celebrate May Week safely and raise money for causes central to the fight against coronavirus.

So many of us have been missing Cambridge this term, and it will mean a lot to come together on one evening, despite our physical distance. This event is all about bringing the Cambridge community together, reflected by the fact that it’s being put on by a coalition of organisations who have never done anything like this before!

We also hope that through the Mega Event we’ll be able to support two organisations who have been doing important work in tackling this crisis and mitigating the risks of future ones. The livestream will be free to watch and open to all, but we’ll be inviting people to make a donation to our wonderful charities if they feel they are able to.

Alongside well-known bands and acts, Cambridge Footlights and acapella groups, students and staff can submit their own content, whether that be performances or features showcasing the variety of activities, by individuals, student societies or groups of students or staff, across Cambridge during lockdown.

George saw an opportunity beyond just an online May Ball.

We want to create something here that isn’t even possible during a normal May Week, when we’re split up into our different Colleges and events, each doing our own thing. This will be a unique moment to bring the whole of Cambridge together as one.

That’s why there is a really strong emphasis on crowdsourcing content and featuring the diversity of our community.  We want to give everyone – students and staff alike – the chance to leave their mark on the Mega Event.

Students and staff at Cambridge can make a submission in one or more of the following features:

Five Minutes of Fame – open individuals and groups, students and staff. ‘It gives complete flexibility for anyone to submit anything and if it is good enough and entertaining enough we will add it alongside more established bands and comedians,’ says George.

Uni Tunes – ‘this is our song contest. Write a song about your Cambridge experience – whether it is a witty parody or nostalgic lament.’ Open to staff and students.

When Life Gives You Lockdown – ‘how have different groups and individuals gone about dealing with the challenges of lockdown?’ Student societies, Welfare Officers, staff too have doubtless gone the extra mile, come up with clever ways to stay happy.

George Rosenfeld last year at Trinity

The deadline is 31 May 2020 and the organising committee will review all submissions and contact those whose who are successful. The Mega Event organising committee comprises students from across the Colleges and a representative from each of the co-hosts – MWA, RAG and the May Ball Presidents’ Committee.

‘Reading through the submissions was so inspiring,’ said George, ‘it will be very special to shine a light on some of the unsung heroes who make Cambridge a better place’.

Organisers are also hoping for input Cambridge alumni in the arts, culture and media worlds, including as presenters of the 28 June livestream.

The event is free to watch – donations are encouraged and all money raised will go Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at Cambridge.

Charitable giving is been coordinated by the Big MAC, a Cambridge-based student charity that has raised £24,000 from students donating a portion of their May Ball ticket refunds. During the Mega Event, Big MAC will run a fundraising appeal for the two charities.


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