McGill: “The Melting Pot of Vanderbilt”


Source: Kyler Russell

Ameenah McKnight


Source: Kyler Russell

The McGill Living Learning Community hosted their first monthly Coffeehouse event on September 8th that showcased a variety of student talents.

As the rest of main campus begins to settle down for the weekend, an eclectic bunch forms in the bottom room of McGill for a night of songs, spoken word, and entertaining performances.

Each month, the McGill Living Learning Community hosts a two-hour coffeehouse that serves as an open-mic night for its residents and the rest of campus. McGill was built in 1946 for philosophical majors and creative thinkers. It has since fostered a community of diverse students with a range of abilities. 

Senior Mac Ploetz is the designated MC for the night and starts off by doing a quick-witted impersonation of Mike Pence to set the mood of the night. After inviting the audience to text in any suggestions for jokes or love letters, he was prompted to recite the Bee Movie script and attempt to remember the words to “Hoedown Throwdown.”

The energy of the event was magnetic. Although it’s best to get there early enough to grab a good seat, if you were to walk in at any other time, you’d fit right into the gleeful crowd.  

“McGill was founded on three pillars: creative expression, inclusive community and free thought, and that manifests a lot of different ways in McGill,” said Chloe O’dell, the LLC’s vice president for campus outreach and one of the many performers of the night.

As she takes the stage, she begins to play what seems to be an acoustic version of Coldplay’s “Fix You,” but spins into a Vanderbilt parody that gets the whole room cheering, clapping and singing along.

       Other performances included:

  • Head Resident Josh Forges playing a self-produced, EDM mash-up of the Burger King slogan, “Have it your way,” and the word “Subway,” that completely tripped out the crowd.
  • A group of girls called “the Flintstones,” performing an acapella version of Young Money’s song “Bedrock.”
  • A flutist stripped to nothing but his underwear, reenacting his worst auditioning nightmare.
  • A glow in the dark juggling performance.

No matter what the special talent is, the coffeehouse stage is open and promises audience-wide acceptance.

“McGill in general is a very genuine place where, even if you’re really bad, like no matter how bad you are, someone’s going to clap for you. No matter how sensitive the subject is, someone’s going to listen and there’s going to be someone who needs to hear it,” said performer Ayden Lee. Lee bravely performed a powerful spoken word piece about his transgender experience.

“It’s a very safe place, so I don’t feel afraid to touch on very sensitive and rough issues. I know I can touch on racism, sexism, and homophobia, things like that; and not only be received well, but maybe even be able to change some people’s perspectives,” Lee said.

“McGill is really the melting pot of Vanderbilt, and coffeehouse is where we get not only people from McGill, but people who have an interest in the community or in the issues we’re passionate about to get here and come together,” said Lee.

Whether you want to crack some jokes, stir up some controversy or sing your favorite song, the McGill coffeehouses are open to you and are an exciting way to showcase your passions and be a part of a special community of expressive people.

The next Coffeehouse event will tentatively be held November 16th.