The idea of Mensch Festival was originally to have a mini Burning Man at Pacific. Students would have an assigned space and be able to do nearly whatever they wanted in that space, much like the controversial annual festival in Nevada.
But over the last six years, Pacific’s Center for Gender Equity has taken many of Burning Man’s core ideas and created their very own—much mellower—festival of expression.
“We started this when students were talking about going to Burning Man, which is all about social justice. Out there pushing the envelope,” said Martha Rampton, Director of the Center for Gender Equity.
“We at one point thought we would go to that, but it would be hard because there’s lots of drugs, lots of sex and it didn’t feel like something we wanted to do. Instead we decided to start something on campus with the principles of Burning Man but it wouldn’t have the drugs and sex. At least not yet.”
This year’s festival included free food from ARAMARK, local and student artists, live music, a coffee and jam booth and booths to raise money for CGE. Planned Parenthood had a booth where they asked attendees to sign to show their support of the organization. Balloons filled with paint were popped and made into art.
Some people donated supplies to the Bradley Angle Domestic Violence Center as well.
“It went fantabulous,” said Student Project Coordinator Janelle Del Castillo.
The center’s tarot card reading booth raised a total of $40 and their tie-dye booth raised $60. All the money funds the center. But the most popular booth was free.
“She did amazing. All the artists did amazing.”
Prizes were given to artists who best embodied the ideas of self-expression behind Mensch.
The People’s Choice Award, which came with a $25 dollar gift card to Fred Meyer, was granted to sophomore Janae Sargent for her drawings.
Junior Jessica Bierly won second place for the People’s Choice Award also recieving $25 to Fred Meyer for her photography.
The Committee Choice Award, chosen by CGE staff, was given to graduate Megan Ujakovich-Gometz for her photography.
“The gender equity aspect of Mensch is about expression and expressing ones self through art and music,” said Rampton.
Mensch is a Yiddish word, which translates roughly to upright, caring and globally aware human being, and these are the qualities the festival fosters.
It is a positive, expression of personal and communal responsibility and commitment to artistic expression and social justice.
“It’s very enriching,” said Del Castillo.