BY KRISTINE CASTORIA
Originally published by the UD review
Metta Creative is an organization that aims to change the way millennials party by focusing on making deeper personal connections and giving back to the environment. Davis Pfund, a co-founder of Metta Creative claims the initial idea was inspired by feeling disconnected and bored at Grotto’s.
“Our slogan is ‘party with purpose,’” Pfund said. “We host our own parties, and everyone’s invited. We make art and donate to the environment.”
Pfund was first introduced to Metta Creative when he was a freshman. As an entrepreneurship major, he immediately saw the company’s potential. He believed he could bring the organization to the next level by utilizing the Summers Founders program at the Venture Development Center for entrepreneurship.
The Summer Founders program is an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurial students to create a start-up and have weekly mentoring progress meetings with advisors. Projects are funded by donor entrepreneurs and students receive a stipend for the summer.
“That program was pivotal in the development and growth of our company because it was 12 weeks of non-stop discovery,” Pfund said. “There, we learned we are solving two problems and those problems are to the very core, loneliness and unsustainability. The main point is, there’s a lot of different reasons why we’re feeling disconnected from each other, even though we’re all connected virtually, we are disconnected personally.”
Metta Creative describes themselves as a “happy medium” between college parties and festival culture. Metta Creative plans on making their presence greater on campus by creating a “Metta Club” in the near future.
“The idea is similar to fraternities or sororities, we’ll have a house, a group of people, and we’ll throw parties where everyone is invited.” Pfund said. “But instead of being a frat house and beer and partying like they do, it will be a Metta house with art, conversation, and music, partying the way we know how.”
The club is hoping to start within a few semesters. Metta Creative claims this will be a more holistic approach to Greek life.
“We’re approachable to college students, we have that taste of festival culture, openness and Burning Man principals,” Pfund said. “We’ve turned empty warehouses into the most beautiful, comfortable and aesthetic environments, where you would not even believe it was an empty warehouse before.”
Most of Metta Creative’s profits come from ticket sales and hosting vendors at their events. Occasionally, events are sponsored by donors or co-hosts.
“Every event we’ve donated to different environmental non-profits,” Pfund said. “We donate 15 percent, but that’s just money right? We want to make an even bigger impact and the way we do that is by inspiring, and the best way to get millennials to participate in things is to make it fun, easy or cool. We’re shifting the narrative and incentivizing people by making our parties gamified.”
The biggest event that Metta Creative has hosted to date was called “Beauty in the Backyard.” It was their first multi-day experience, featuring live music, a potluck, games, workshops, collaborative arts, camping and more. The event was held at Camp Ramblewood, a 200-acre open space with cabins, in Darlington, Md.
“One thing I really enjoyed about the weekend away from UD, was that it was not just a bunch of partying college students, it was a coming together of all different amazing people, with different stories, getting together for some good music,” Kiera McShane, a junior who attended Beauty in the Backyard, said. “A few people I spoke to were artists at the gallery and I loved being able to see all of their different perspectives. I also noticed how eco-friendly they were with recycling the whole weekend and always having healthy plant-based food options.”
Part of Metta Creative’s mission is to make people of all backgrounds feel comfortable and able to have fun in a safe space. Michelle Ramirez, a senior anthropology major and international student from Colombia, has attended many of Metta’s events and participates in marketing this idea of alternative partying.
“We want to target those millennials who don’t feel comfortable in the typical partying situation,” Ramirez said. “Maybe for example they have artistic abilities but cannot perform in certain place. Human beings are a species who are attracted to art and music.”
Pfund claims that no alcohol is provided at the events in order for people to make lasting friendships and have meaningful conversations with one another. However, students are allowed to bring their own alcohol if they are 21 or over.
Metta Creative also holds events in Baltimore, Md.; New York; and Washington, D.C. Their plan for the future is to grow nationwide, and hopefully international. Their next event is Catharsis on the Mall in Washington, D.C., May 3 to 5. There, they will be co-hosting, setting up a “theme-camp” at this event.
“There’s always live music, live art, food, interaction and opportunity to create things,” Pfund said. “We always have a ton of collaborative art materials and then we create comfortable space, lots of chairs, giving people the opportunity for open conversation. Anyone can come, we’ve had kids at events, we’ve had grandparents at events, we’re open to everyone.”