By Heather King, Staff Writer

logo designed by Jeremy Vroom

logo designed by Jeremy Vroom

The “Power Up! Social Collaboration for Change” Co-Lab will be holding an event in early April called Farmington SOUP, where people from the community submit proposals of projects that would help better the community.

The purpose of Farmington SOUP is to put together a big project with efforts from many different people and businesses. The Mount Blue High School culinary students will be making the meal for the event, serving soup, salad, bread, and possibly a dessert.  “The idea is to power the community through the democratic practice, and for the community voices to be heard,” said Brandon Monroe, a student in the communications group of the Co-Lab.

The night will be busy with many events.“The agenda for the night is that people will come in and mingle, presentations will occur, the meal will be presented, and people will have the opportunity to vote and discuss which project they want the donations to go towards,” said Alaina Shorey, a student and member of the Co-Lab communications subgroup putting the event together. “Then a feature artist will perform, and then the winner will be announced.”

“Anyone is welcome at the event,” said Shorey. “It is free, but we recommend a $5 donation.” The donations from the event will give the community the finances to follow through with the chosen proposal.

A Co-Lab is a new collaborative project to UMF that combines three classes into one general theme, together they work on a collective project throughout their academic career. There are multiple subgroups in the Social Collaboration for Change Co-Lab class that are in charge of different aspects of the event: finance, communication, food, entertainment, and materials.

The communications group is eager for the event. “The more people who come, the more opportunity for them to learn about the community in which they are getting an education,” said Monroe.

“We want proposals to come in,”  said Cooper Lavigne, another member of the communications group.  The proposals are for, “the community to discuss with each other what innovative projects people have in the works for the community,” said Monroe.  Four proposals will be chosen to give a four-minute presentation at the event.  People at the event will then vote on which proposal to support.

Gaelyn Aguilar, a professor of the Co-Lab, said in an e-mail interview, “SOUP is what you might call a relational hub in that it connects people, from different social networks, around an event that has been pulled together by community, for community,” she said. “Often, there are so many great ideas out there, but no central space from which to bring these ideas into the light. SOUP does that.”  The other professors participating in the Co-Lab are Gustavo Aguilar and John Messier.

The group has done other events to gear up for the Farmington SOUP event, including bringing speakers and activists to UMF. This is the first time this event is happening in Farmington, although other communities in other states have been putting on events like this, such as the Detroit SOUP, which is where the professors of the Co-Lab got the idea.

The members of the communications group are working hard to prepare for the event.  “My favorite part is that the organization of the event holds so much power for the event,” said Monroe. “It is all instrumental.”

The event will be held on April 10th at the Mount Blue Campus from 6:30-8:30.