City Council Candidate Convention

On April 2nd, Young Involved Philadelphia hosted the largest event in its 15-year history and one of the largest events in the 2015 primary election season. Hosted by WHYY and in partnership with the Committee of Seventy, this event saw more than 400 young voters converge on WHYY’s studios to meet and engage with 23 candidates for Philadelphia City Council.
The impetus for this event was the growing power of City Council in relation to the mayor — City Council has control over development of neighborhoods; they decide if and where bike lanes can go; they have the power to raise or reduce parking ticket fees; and they even have say over trash collection. At the end of the day, Council decides how to spend $4.5 BILLION every year. And YIP and Seventy recognized that virtually no one, especially young voters, knows anything about who sits on council or who is running.
YIP and the Committee of Seventy thought it’d be cool to have a reverse career fair for the candidates, including both the incumbents and the people running to unseat them. The next thought: “wouldn’t it be cool if we gave all of the attendees a ‘cheat sheet’ about what to ask candidates?” So YIP curated questions from more than a dozen issue-specific organizations, including the Bicycle Coalition, Plan Philly, AL DIA, Philly Core Leaders, and the Urban Affairs Coalition.
The event — which was organized by an entirely volunteer team of more than 35 members of YIP — was a smashing success, providing a unique opportunity for young voters to engage directly with candidates, put a face to a name, and decide if that candidate was worthy of their vote.

J-1 Con

Created by Philadelphia’s Jason Richardson, who took home the coveted Geek of the Year award last year, J1-Con is a convention founded to make conventions accessible, so that fans who come from lower income families aren’t left out the sometimes expensive convention scene.

Cosplay contests, live performances, informative panels, artist signings, and meet-and-greets, J1-Con continues to grow year after year, delivering on their goal to make cons affordable, and judgement free for those who come from all walks of life. And not just for attendees, but for artists who want to exhibit, offering up incredibly inexpensive tables to up-and-coming illustrators and comic artists. A convention made by geeks for geeks.

This year, J-1 announced additional expansion, bringing a music component to the always anticipated event. You can watch a recap video of last year’s con, here.

Blackstar Film Festival

The BlackStar Film Festival is a celebration of cinema focused on work by and about people of African descent in a global context.

BlackStar highlights films that are often overlooked from emerging, established, and mid-career directors, writers and producers working in narrative, documentary, experimental and music video filmmaking.

Philly Give & Get

This year, Lansie Sylvia’s new fundraising event Philly Give & Get brought in $6,000 for the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Technology. Auctioning off “dates” with talented individuals, Philly Give & Get creates an opportunity to learn from experienced professionals in their respective fields while networking and meeting awesome new people. After the event, Lansie Sylvia was selected a 2013 Social Impact Fellow.

Nerd Nite Philly

A monthly event held at Frankford Hall, Nerd Nite Philly brings in speakers from all over the city, talking on a wealth of topics: science, technology, you name it. Philly’s best and brightest hackers, scientists, artists and techies have found themselves speaking to large, eager crowds in the beer garden. This year, Nerd Nite featured some truly incredible guest speakers including Mr. T. expert Ben Leach, Suzanne Woods of Allagash Brewing Co., cheese artisan Madame Fromage, hacker Georgia Gurthrie and others.

8-Static Festival

The chiptune scene in Philadelphia continues to grow and is proud to be one of the biggest in the country. The team behind the amazing chiptune parties at Studio 34 and PhilaMOCA banded together to create the 8-static Festival, a three day celebration of 8-bit music and visuals in Philadelphia. Their Kickstarter campaign pulled in more than $11,000 and gifted the city with an amazing new music festival.

Exhumed 24-Hour Film Festival

Every year the folks at Exhumed throw incredible 24-hour film festivals, bringing together the horror and film community for a full day of movie watching madness.

Funeral for a Home

On May 31, a home in Philadelphia’s Mantua neighborhood was demolished. However, before the home was torn down, it was celebrated. People came out to toast the house, sing songs, and remember the home. A moving event that doubled as an art project by Steven and Billy Dufala (who Philadelphians might know from their group Man Man), the goal was to engage the community “through public memory and civic dialogue.”

Open Air Philadelphia

With thousands of participants and millions of web visitors, Open Air Philadelphia brought together public art and mobile tech to create a fantastic, unique platform for the community to participate in. It illuminated the Philadelphia skyline for three weeks in the Fall, and participants could record and submit messages to share through the art program.
The app was downloaded over 7,000 times and over 17,000 people visited the Benjamin Franklin Parkway through the project’s life, becoming the largest crowd-sourced public art project ever seen in Philadelphia.