E3 gets down to business

At Issue:  Emerson constantly recognized for the arts

Our Take: Give the E3 exposition program some attention

Many Emerson students who have survived a Thanksgiving break are used to the question, “What’s your major?”, and the awkward acknowledgements or employment jokes once you respond with “film,” “acting,” “writing,” or another one of our proudly artsy disciplines. We aren’t our siblings or cousins studying business or cramming for the MCAT’s. We proudly eschew engineering for all-nighter film shoots, and finance for fiction workshops.

And yet, Emerson is not the stereotypical arts-centric school either. As much as we’re mocked for impractical studies, we’re not known for lackadaisical hippie ideology or ignoring economic realities. People pick up marketing minors, cram their schedules with internships, and learn to sell their passions.

Emerson’s driven spirit is perhaps best showcased by its annual E3 Expo, which gives students the opportunity to pitch a proposed business to potential investors. Awards this year included $20,000 in cash, legal assistance, and public relations services. The event has garnered a strong base of alum. Past winners include Quiyk, a clothing brand exclusively for Quidditch players that has made a name for itself at the game’s world cup. Joining Quiyk in the winners circle is Green Street Vault, a truck that sells designer sneakers and T-shirts. And if you have tasted one of the sandwiches crafted to perfection by Roxy’s Grilled Cheese food truck, then you’ve taken a bite out of another E3 pitch. 

Over the course of a year, students in the E3 class draft, plan, and attempt to implement a new business. In the current job market, the class and other business classes like it at Emerson, is a great way to learn how to provide for yourself and make your own business ideas a reality. While not every student wins at the expo, the experience of presenting their models to judges has a real world benefit. 

Competitions like E3 place a spotlight on the college that goes beyond that which it usually gets from ProArts plays or film screenings. It’s a peek into the projects from students in a minor that goes unnoticed at a known arts school. 

It’s easy to roll our eyes at the social media self-branding and obsessive cover letter writing of our peers. But to dismiss the unlikely business ethic that’s slipped into our artsy institution is to ignore one of Emerson’s greatest strengths. You can be the next Tony Kushner or John Updike for a new generation, but if you don’t know how to sell your creativity, you won’t find an audience. Emerson gives us the best of both worlds.