Harvey Mudd Students Brought Taylor Swift To Their Campus


According to an email that was sent to students at Harvey Mudd College on Monday by Karen Angemi, Director of the President’s Office and Secretary of the Corporation, Harvey Mudd College was the winner of a competition to bring Taylor Swift, a country singer who has won multiple Grammy Awards, to perform at the Claremont Colleges. On Monday, October 15, Swift will put on a concert that will only feature acoustic music.

Maria Klawe, the President of HMC, stated in an email that she sent to TSL that there will be some tickets available to students at the other colleges and that all of those tickets will be free of charge.

The online competition known as Taylor Swift On Campus attracted participants from high schools and colleges all over the United States and received submissions from 14,000 educational institutions. Participants were permitted to cast one vote daily, and the polls were open from August 21 until September 23. The votes were weighted differently for each school according to the total number of students enrolled there.

In addition to the performance, Angemi wrote that HMC was awarded a music program grant for $10,000. The grant of $10,000 was also distributed to the schools that came in second through fourth place. The runner-up schools are Seton High School in Cincinnati, Terra Environmental Research Institute in Miami, Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, and HMC’s rival, Caltech. Bellarmine College Preparatory is located in San Jose.

According to a message sent to TSL by Travis Beckman, HM ’15, “The voting total of each school was modified by the school’s population,” and “I believe that increments of 1,000 people categorized the school’s population.” “The school’s population-adjusted the voting total of each school.” [Travis Beckman HM ’15] Together with Yeahmoon Hong, HM ’15, Beckman was in charge of planning the Facebook gathering that gave rise to the online campaign to bring Taylor Swift to Claremont.

“Since Mudd has approximately 800 enrolled students, I figured that we would have a great chance to win since our vote was measured by only one factor, ” stated Beckman in his email. “Since our vote was normalized by only one factor, however, I was wrong.” “Taking into consideration the proximity of the 5Cs, I reasoned that if Mudd won, at least some students from each college would be able to attend. The rules state that the winning school has discretion over the distribution of tickets, and I figured that if Mudd won, this would be the case. Because I do not personally know very many other 5C students, I was aware from the beginning that it would be challenging to attract a large following on the other campuses; however, [Hong] made the Facebook event public so that we could enlist the assistance of additional 5C students. I reasoned that even if our voting were still only normalized by Mudd’s population, it wouldn’t hurt to have more 5C students cast their ballots because it could only help our chances.

The online textbook rental service Chegg and Papa John’s Pizza are both generously supporting this competition as sponsors. Other sponsors include Covergirl, American Greetings, and VH1 Storytellers, a program on the music television network that broadcasts live performances and interviews with the artists who perform them.

According to what Beckman wrote, “the amount that was required to win was entirely based on Chegg’s (the company that ran the voting) discretion.” “I don’t believe that there are any legal gray areas. Our population was used to standardize the voting totals, and as you can see, the top five schools are all relatively modest in size. This was our most significant advantage over the competition. Because of this rule, we could compete fairly with larger schools like those in the UC system. If there were any [gaps], [Hong] and I only encouraged voting following the contest’s rules, and we nagged our friends to vote every day, just like we were!

According to Josiah Gaskin HM ’13, the concert will be held at Pomona College’s Big Bridges Auditorium, as was reported in the Claremont Forum.

Beckman referred to himself as “the Taylor Swift super-fan of HMC” because he has previously met Swift, owns every one of her songs, including bonus tracks, and can recite them by heart. Despite this, Even students who “wouldn’t consider themselves to be Taylor Swift fans” volunteered, according to Beckman, because they understood the impact it would have on their caring friends.

He continued, “That, in and of itself, is pretty special, and it speaks to the camaraderie of the 5Cs.”

Beckman wrote: “I feel that our small but dedicated group of Mudders and 5C students voted every day along with others who helped out just because they could be the key.” The competition did not release the final numbers of votes; however, the competition did not release the absolute numbers. Because the rules stated that Chegg could decide the voting totals based on population size, we were given the opportunity and responded with a strong showing.

On November 11, Taylor Swift’s performance at the Claremont Colleges will be broadcast, as stated on the website of VH1.


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