SCPC presents: PowerPoint night at the Institute

A student shares a prepared presentation on birds. The light-hearted event gave students a chance to practice public speech. / Photo by Alex Dubé Student Publications

On the evening of Thursday, Nov. 2, students convened in the Student Center’s Atlantic Theater for the first ever Student Center Programs Council (SCPC) PowerPoint Night at the Institute. 

The event was organized by the Horizons committee, a relatively new addition to SCPC.

“Its goal is to do things SCPC has not done before. We exist as a sandbox committee where we can try new ideas and see what is successful and maybe do it again in the future,” said Dongyu Zhang, fourth-year BMED and chair of the Horizons committee.

“I want to bring self-expression to events. Events should be fun but people should leave with something. I want people to learn about themselves through the events, ” Zhang said. 

PowerPoints, a format of presenting information all students are made familiar with in higher education, have recently been transformed from purely academic into wholesome fun. 

PowerPoint Nights have become a popular trend on TikTok with friends sharing PowerPoints on topics they are passionate about often with a humorous twist. SCPC has brought this idea to the Institute on a large scale turning sharing amongst friends groups into sharing amongst the study body at large.

Students were welcomed to the event at check-in with free popcorn setting the mood for the night of entertainment that followed. SCPC publicized the night via Instagram promoting it as an elevation of an open mic night asking students to submit PowerPoints prior to the event. Everything, except for violent and graphic content was allowed to be presented leading to a unique assortment of presentations.

PowerPoints included an interactive tutorial on how to make an origami box, a ranking of the top ten moments from the hit reality television show Kitchen Nightmares, a deep dive into the life of Napoleon the Third — the last Emperor of France — and a presentation of legitimate scientific research on stable diffusion. 

Though event organizers asked for submission drafts beforehand, more submissions were accepted throughout the evening and organizers even offered an on-site workshop half way through the event, allowing attendees to work on the new PowerPoints together. 

“It’s hard to present in front of strangers,” Zhang said. He explained that by having a workshop in the middle of the event, they hoped attendees too nervous to present at first would be inspired to get on stage and present. This phenomenon was seen previously at SCPC’s Open Mic Poetry Night also organized by Zhang and the Horizons committee. 

“After poetry night we had a workshop and a second presentation period. People were inspired and presented poems they wrote either by themselves or with others during the workshop. I hope today goes like that as well,” Zhang said before the event.

“It’s about showing participants that it’s not competitive or formal,” Zhang said.  He continued to explain that the informal environment encourages students previously nervous or anxious to participate to show their true selves making them stronger in the process. “It’s not about how many people come but what effect we have on them,” Zhang said. 

PowerPoint Night and Poetry Night are part of Zhang’s vision for the Horizons committee and SCPC as a whole. 

“I want to use SCPC as a bridge to connect people and allow people to not just have fun but have fun with each other. It’s about allowing people to enjoy themselves presenting and sharing their voice. I love having events where people can have their voices heard,” Zhang said.

Zhang hopes to have more events where students can express themselves in the future. “I want to do something each semester on the creative side with
self-expression,” Zhang said.

PowerPoint Night offered students just that by allowing presenters a lot of creative control over their presentations. Presenters were able to make their own rules for the presentations. Everyone, including SCPC members, were able to show off their passion. 

The event also offered a great opportunity for students to practice public speaking skills and provided a practice run for presenting in an academic setting as evidenced by PowerPoints themed on historical figures and scientific research. SCPC’s PowerPoint Night provided an open and safe space for students to freely express themselves, their interests and their passions in certain topics by encouraging connection through a jovial and light-hearted event. Visit their Instagram @gtscpc for more information.