With Arkalalah nearing, newly hired Cowley College Alumni Relations and Golden Tigers Coordinator Adriana Somerville had the idea to put together a float design contest for the school’s engineering students so they could gain experience in creating a design and then executing a build.
Of the students who participated, sophomore Aimee Schwintz had her work chosen as the winning design.
Somerville gave the engineering students specifications of what everyone involved with the float wanted it to include. It had to include elements from the current fall show, “Mary Poppins,” along with recognizable Cowley elements. She gave them a budget and timeline, and they took it from there. Some students designed on their own, while others designed in teams.
“They didn’t have a huge budget or a very long timeline, so I was very pleased with the caliber of their designs considering their time and budget constraints,” Somerville said.
The engineering students were given an information packet that included pictures of the float in its current state, design elements from “Mary Poppins” and iconic Cowley images, such as the Cowley Tiger logo.
They also were given measurements and an explanation of Technical Director of Theater John Rohr’s inspiration for the show from a technical designer’s point of view.
They were given a little more than a week to complete their designs before presented them in front of a committee. Students were asked to include their designs and an itemized list of expenses with their presentation. Each individual or team was given 10 minutes to convince the committee that their design should be the winner.
There were parts of each design that members on the committee appreciated, Somerville said, and every design had an element that someone liked.
But Schwintz’s design stood out because she cohesively incorporated elements from “Mary Poppins” and Cowley College. She also drew from the film for her design inspiration. Everyone on the committee liked that her design went from the industrial look of the stage show to the more whimsical look of the film.
“We also liked the house that Courtney Wallace used in her design, so we have asked the two of them to collaborate and combine Aimee’s design with Courtney’s house,” Somerville said.
Schwintz is the granddaughter of Larry Schwintz, who retired from Cowley College in 2006 after spending 29 years there as an instructor.
She said she wants the float to have a geometric, City of London look to it. The float will feature kites, a roof and a smokestack that emits fog.
“I am a bit of an artist, so I enjoyed designing the float,” Schwintz said. “My family and friends are excited to see it in the parade.”
Somerville said the float also will be used in some fun events. “Not only are the engineering students getting experience in their field, it’s turning into something that’s fun for the whole Cowley community,” she said.
Somerville encourages individuals interested in helping to paint the float to attend a paint party Oct. 14 in the parking lot of W.S. Scott Auditorium. Free hamburgers will be available to those assisting with the painting.
Also, a float party will be held after the parade on Oct. 28 so everyone can see the finished product up close.
Free root beer floats will be offered at the float party.
“Quite a few alumni come back for Arkalalah and we really wanted to do something to make them feel like a part of Cowley’s Arkalalah happenings, so we’re doing the float party with them in mind,” Somerville said.
For more information about the paint party or float party, email Somerville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This information was provided by Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications and Public Relations Rama Peroo.