We’re just now recovering from the mid-term elections here in the United States, but Garrison Medill is making a fierce run to become Mayor of Chicago. This “outside the Beltway” candidate, a Pratt University graduate with an MFA in sculpture, calls himself a “forward-thinking mayor.” At his campaign kickoff party, Garrison Medill took a firm stand: “What Chicago needs is a strong push toward technologies of the future, so it can be a thought leader in this country and around the world.”
No, no, incumbent Mayor Daley (in office since 1989), did not suddenly throw up his hands and leave the top municipal seat of the Windy City. But don’t tell that to Garrison Medill — he’s the protagonist in an alternate reality game created by students in a Writing, Language, and Culture seminar focusing on alternate reality games at Columbia College in Chicago.
In this course, run by Dr. Brenden Riley (who has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education for his Zombies in Popular Media class), students are guided through a “collaborative approach to learning and work” as they design, build, and launch an ARG. Seventy percent of a student’s grade hinges on their participation in the development, implementation, and evaluation of their classroom-grown game.
Guided by the efforts of Riley’s class, Garrison Medill is reaching out to Chicago voters by making public appearances, including a live Mayoral Expo on campus where Medill squares off against an opponent. Medill has certainly made some waves among the politicos in Chicago. A number of community responses to Medill’s run for mayor can be found from the student community’s blog, Vote or Don’t, and the political blog, Not Another Daley. This is just a small sample of the online assets of this student-created game.
Cast your vote for the next Mayor of Chicago by checking out Garrison Medill’s campaign page or follow along at the game thread on Unfiction. Will this plucky, dark horse candidate make it to the top of the municipal food chain? Doesn’t he just look like a natural-born Mayor?