Dressed in purple and white skull leggings with a ripped tank top and a white-and-black polka-dot bandana to match his electric guitar, Tom McCollum, Lyman Briggs College math instructor, rocked out to a solo — bringing out a side he doesn’t usually show to students in class.
“Every day is a performance, whether that be with chalk in my hand teaching in a class or having a guitar at this talent show,” McCollum said. “It’s great to see what other talents students have and what they are interested in.”
McCollum’s was one of 16 performances in Briggs Extravaganza, a talent show hosted in Holmes Hall’s cafeteria as part of the Briggs Multicultural Alliance, or BMA. BMA encourages culture and diversity on and off campus, which could be seen Thursday night as students, professors and even faculty member’s children participated in the event.
BMA President Vanessa Salmo said the event, which had an audience of about 40 people, promotes more interaction between students, faculty and staff in a less academic environment.
“This is a way for BMA to promote diversity and diversity awareness in a fun way,” Salmo said.
“The people in Holmes are always studying because of the Lyman Briggs classes going on, so this is a way to get people out of the classroom in a relaxed but learning environment.”
Elizabeth Simmons, dean of Lyman Briggs College, attended the talent show to see her 13-year-old son tell jokes and perform in his quartette group. While at the event, Simmons interacted with students in the audience.
“It’s great to see my son involved because he gets to see what college is all about and interact with other performers,” Simmons said. “Something like this reminds students there is more to life than just textbooks and studying.”
Human biology sophomore Jasmine Singh took a break from the books to participate in the event as a performer. Singh sang David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium” and “Cups” from the movie “Pitch Perfect,” and earned third place for her performance.
Singh said having an event like this with students and faculty interacting is normal.
“It’s almost natural that faculty would be involved at the talent show,” Singh said. “Lyman Briggs is a family.”
Although BMA is a student-run organization, Kent Workman, director of student affairs in Lyman Briggs College, acts as a co-adviser of BMA to help with logistics and point them in the right direction. As one of judges for the talent show, Workman said this show was a chance for the student group to grow as individuals.
“By taking on this type of leadership, they know how to do all the different aspects of planning an event such as this talent show,” Workman said. “This will translate later by how much they grow and develop here.”