Most undergraduate research and creative projects are done one-on-one, mentor and student, but Brooke Mott shared her UCARE project with the entire campus community.
Mott, a junior from Omaha, organized a 24-hour Homerathon, where participants did a complete reading of Homer’s “Iliad.”
The event began April 19 at 7 a.m., and as students filtered onto campus for class and the weather got warmer, the white tents, surrounding tables and stage on the green space north of Nebraska Union became a constant hub of activity.
Free food, T-shirts and entertainment awaited any person who stopped. By 3 p.m., Mott said there had been a steady flow of people and estimated more than 300 students, faculty and staff had taken part.
“It’s been really fun,” Mott said. “We’ve had a lot of students come by and want to participate and so many have stopped to listen.”
Mott is majoring in classics and religious studies and worked with Michael Lippman, associate professor of practice, on the UCARE project. UCARE, which stands for Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience, supports Nebraska undergraduates to work with faculty advisers in research or creative activities. Mott also recruited about 20 fellow classics majors to help out, including senior Bekkah Watkins.
“I love the ‘Iliad,’ so being able to get more people involved and seeing a lot of students talking about this has made me really happy,” Watkins said.
Watkins also confessed to being gobsmacked by meeting Stanley Lombardo, a classicist whose translation of ‘Iliad’ was used in the event. The Lombardo translation is loved by many fans of the Ancient Greek epic.
“It was massively fulfilling to meet him,” she said.
Mott said her project was meant to illustrate the importance of classical studies and to gain the skills needed to put on a large event.
“This shows that the study of classics includes an umbrella of things: marketing, advertising, event planning and community involvement,” she said.
But she may have also started a new tradition for students on campus.
“I think there’s definite interest in having a similar classics event each year,” Mott said. “I know we want to touch on the ‘Odyssey’ next year and there are lots of ideas for future events.”