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Postgraduate students urge people to “Cam together” for May Week Mega Event

Jesus College postgraduate students, Charlotte Milbank and Max Turner are Committee members for the May Week Mega Event, an online celebration of May Week to be held on Sunday 28 June 2020. We asked them to tell us how and why people should get involved.

What is the May Week Mega Event and how did it come about?

Charlotte: The May Week Mega Event is a virtual celebration of May Week, following the cancellation of all the May Balls earlier this year. We will be live-streaming a huge range of performances on the evening of Sunday 28 June, hoping to recreate some of the traditional May Ball experience. We're working with the Big MAC charitable campaign to encourage further donations to local coronavirus causes, building on the huge £28,000 already raised. We really hope that an event like this will unite people and be an important mood-booster at the end of a tough year

The May Week Mega Event first came into being at the end of April. I was approached by the founder of May Week Alternative to see if the May Ball Presidents' Committee (which I lead) would be interested in being co-host for the event. RAG also came on board at a similar time, and soon a small Committee had formed.

How are you involved and what have you and the Committee been doing so far?

Charlotte: I am the Operations Lead, coordinating the various moving parts of this whole thing. I also represent and coordinate with the May Ball Presidents, who are continuing to lend their help despite their own events being called off.

Max: I am the Technical Lead. My first jobs were to design logos and come up with a coherent graphic scheme for all the promotion leading up to the event, and the event itself. I also designed and built the website. My main job now is coordinating all the content that people are sending in, and compiling it into a single piece that we will stream on the night of the Mega Event.

What can attendees expect on the night?

Max: We will be streaming a wide array of events that would normally be taking place during May Week. This will include performances from May Ball headliners, stand-up comedy, various acts by student-run societies and sports clubs, and displays of individual talent. All-in-all, we hope to recreate the May Week atmosphere by uniting the Cambridge community and providing a virtual celebration at the end of a tough year.

How can student performers and societies get involved?

Charlotte: We are trying to get as many diverse societies and performers on board as possible, and there are so many ways to do so. Via our website we're asking for creative video submissions on how people have been spending lockdown, song submissions about Cambridge, for their Cambridge 'heroes' and any other creative five-minute submissions. The Tab and Camfess are running other crowdsourcing initiatives and we've also reached out to JCR/MCRs, Sports teams, and cultural and faith societies. Ultimately, if you have an idea, get in touch and we'll try to fit you in!

Which charities is the event raising funds for and why have they been chosen?

Charlotte: We are partnering with The Big MAC campaign to raise money on the night for two Cambridge-based coronavirus causes. Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk were chosen, following a large student survey prior to the initiation of the Big MAC. So far the campaign has raised over £28,000 by encouraging students to donate part of their May Ball ticket refunds, and we hope to build on this through the Mega Event.

What's your main message to your fellow students at a time when we can't all be together in Cambridge?

Max: We know this is a tough time for everyone, and no one imagined they would be finishing the year stuck at home, whether this be their first or last year at Cambridge. Therefore, we are encouraging as many people as possible to take part in the May Week Mega Event, making sure everyone stays connected in times when a lot of us are alone. Even though celebrating the end of another year online will never be the same as being at a May Week event in person, we hope viewers will find joy in this light-hearted event, and that we will be able to provide some of the things we all love and miss about Cambridge.

Charlotte Milbank
Max Turner

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