At a university where clubs dedicated to finance and consulting abound, finding a community of peers who share a more creative bent has proved, for some, to be a surprisingly difficult task.
But for the founders of “Cornell Creatives” — a club that pitches itself as a networking group focused on connecting creators of all stripes, regardless of talent — that needed to change.
Founded initially as two independent ideas by Katie Go ’22 and Javier Correa ’20 — both of whom had been unaware that the other had already been looking to solve the same problem — Cornell Creatives now encompasses over 100 members and close to 700 Instagram followers, a feat that took the young upstart only two weeks since its launch to achieve.
The group provides Cornellians a platform to show off their skills, boasting a trove of projects on its Instagram page that range from Bharatnatyam, a classical Indian dance genre, to videography shot by drone.
“It started when I first came to Cornell. I was very excited to be finally doing creative things — I’ve always done video, design. I was quickly swallowed into engineering courses,” Go told The Sun. “I was discouraged; I thought there would be more people who had creative side hustles or projects.”
Go first brainstormed the group in her freshman year, when she found herself buried beneath a seemingly endless mound of coursework.
But she wasn’t alone in this feeling — at the same time, Correa was also struggling to find an outlet for his creative hobbies amidst the burden of coursework.
While they are currently focused on raising their profile and building a community base, they have big plans in store for campus and beyond.
“Once we get all these creators together into a community, we want to take that digital community into real space through exhibits, performances, mixers,” Go said.
“It started with me hating finance, I was just being swallowed by that. Over the summer, I wanted to meet more filmmakers,” he told The Sun. “I knew no one, [but] I realized I knew a few music producers from my friends so I was like ‘Why not just connect them so they collaborate?’”
From this idea, the concept for Cornell Creatives was born. Initially, the going was tough. Many of his friends were already a part of other campus groups, making it hard for them to dedicate time to a new and growing organization.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Correa, Go was working with a group of students on a very similar idea. Zain Khoja ’22 and Thomas Lu ’22 both met Katie through mutual friends and quickly became interested in helping out with the project.
“I thought it was super interesting and I wanted more experience in agency work and branding, so then they kind of roped me in through that,” Khoja said.
Both groups encountered each other after Correa launched a Facebook page for his project, under the name Cornell Creatives.
“We were starting in the process of designing our brand and then [Javier’s] Facebook group launched and it was called Cornell Creatives, and we realized it was going to be really confusing if we’re also called Cornell Creatives, so we teamed up and created an umbrella organization,” Khoja said.
And according to Trisha Guttal ’22, another of the founding members, the group hopes to establish chapters at other campuses in the future.
One of the core goals of the group is to focus on changing a campus culture which often prioritizes pre-professionalism or academics to the expense of creative expression.
For instance, Go explained that there currently aren’t many options for reaching out to content creators for work, a gap that Cornell Creatives believes it can fill.
“If a group needs a photographer for an event, they have two options: one is referrals through a connection or, two, their club would already have one,” Go said.
But most importantly, the group wants to help struggling or budding creators get their feet off the ground — and, like Go and Correa, find the confidence to, at least for a few hours a week, pursue passion over the conventional.
“We wanted to give creators the power to own their style,” Go said.