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Press Release



October 5, 2017


Aimee Schwintz wins float design contest


Aimee Schwintz wins float design contestWith Arkalalah nearing, newly hired Cowley College Alumni Relations/Golden Tigers coordinator Adriana Somerville had the idea to put together a float design contest for the school’s engineering students so they could gain experience in creating a design and then execute a build. Out of the students that participated, sophomore Aimee Schwintz had her work chosen as the winning design.

Somerville gave the engineering students specifications of what everyone involved with the float wanted it to include. It had to include elements from the current fall show, Mary Poppins, along with recognizable Cowley elements. She gave them a budget and a timeline and they took it from there. Some students designed on their own, others designed in teams.

“They didn’t have a huge budget or a very long timeline, so I was very pleased with the caliber of their designs considering their time and budget constraints,” Somerville said.

The engineering students were given an information packet that included pictures of the float in its current state, design elements from Mary Poppins and iconic Cowley images, like the Cowley Tiger logo. They were also given measurements and an explanation of John Rohr’s, Technical Director of Theatre, inspiration for the show from a technical designer’s point of view.

They were given a little over a week to complete their design before they presented them in front of a committee. Students were asked to include their designs and an itemized list of expenses with their presentation. Each individual or team was given 10 minutes to convince the committee that their design should be the winner. There were parts of each design that members on the committee appreciated. Every design had an element that someone liked.

Schwintz’s design stood out because she cohesively incorporated elements from Mary Poppins and Cowley College. She also drew from the film for her design inspiration. Everyone on the committee liked that her design went from the industrial look of the stage show to the more whimsical look of the film.

“We also liked the house that Courtney Wallace used in her design, so we have asked the two of them to collaborate and combine Aimee’s design with Courtney’s house,” Somerville said.

Aimee is the granddaughter of Larry Schwintz, who retired from Cowley College in 2006 after spending 29 years as an instructor.
Aimee wants the float to have a geometric city of London look to it. The float will feature kites, a roof, and a smokestack that emits fog.
“I am a bit of an artist, so I enjoyed designing the float,” Schwintz said. “My family and friends are excited to see it in the parade.”
Somerville said the float will also be used in some fun events.

“Not only are the engineering students getting experience in their field, it’s turning into something that’s fun for the whole Cowley community,” Somerville said.

Somerville is encouraging individuals interested in helping paint the float to attend a paint party Saturday, October 14 from noon to 4 PM in the parking lot of W.S. Scott Auditorium. Free hamburgers will be available to those assisting with the paint party.

A float party will be held after the parade on October 28 so that everyone can see the finished product up front. Free root beer floats will be offered at the float party.

“Quite a few alumni come back for Arkalalah and we really wanted to do something to make them feel like a part of Cowley’s Arkalalah happenings, so we’re doing the float party with them in mind,” Somerville said.

For more information on the paint party or float party please email