Bad Ideas Weekend 2023 takes place and features 27 student-organized events
Choi: ‘Without the event, I would never get to see MIT students chowing down on a kimbap filled with lasagna, mango jelly, wasabi peas, and a taquito.’
Bad Ideas Weekend took place Friday, Jan. 20 – Monday, Jan. 23, and included events ranging from a Chipotle marathon to Human Mattress Dominoes and the Green Building Challenge (GBC). Bad Ideas Weekend happens annually during Independent Activities Period (IAP), and encourages students to run and participate in unusual and humorous ideas.
According to the initiative’s website, Bad Ideas is an opportunity for students to “build ridiculous projects and compete in absurd events,” with the organizing committee providing the “resources and enthusiasm to make them happen.”
Historically, Bad Ideas is centered around and organized by East Campus (EC), though events may take place anywhere on campus; this year, the weekend was organized by Tre Webb ’26, Tyra Espedal ’26, and Olivia Tang ’26.
A Variety of Creative Events: 2^n Baguettes to the Green Building Challenge
Some events at Bad Ideas Weekend included the following, with descriptions taken from the website.
Python Bee: Imagine coding blind, under time pressure, in front of a large audience. Is this a nightmare? No! It's a python bee.
Taco Bell Event: The time has come for the Taco Bell Eating Competition: $7,654.10 Mexican pesos worth of bowel-boggling, Mexican-ish cuisine.
2^n Cookies: 2048 but with cookies. Many cookies.
Other events included Cursed Kimbap, playing Asteroids on the Green Building, and BeachReal (going to the beach to take a BeReal). David Choi ’25, an organizer for the Cursed Kimbap event, recalled that their inspiration stemmed from a discussion with a friend that “eventually spiraled into degenerate combinations of food wrapped in seaweed and rice.”
Eileen Zu ’26 and Maya Ayoub ’26 organized 2^n Baguettes. Ayoub heard about Bad Ideas weekend while applying to MIT, sharing that it “seemed like a super fun event to get involved in.” According to Tang, “dumplings and cookies hit n=11 and baguettes hit n=8,” giving credit to East Campus halls Putz (2W) and Florey (5E) for “absolutely [outdoing] themselves this year.”
Tang’s favorite event was the Python Bee, as they teamed up with other hall members from Tetazoo [East Campus 3E], and “ended up clowning [themselves] and forming a five-person team where [they] had to alternate letters” while reciting lines of code. Daniel Reyes ’26 enjoyed the Taco Bell challenge, explaining that they found “the events wonderfully relaxing and fun,” and that little beats free food.
Teresa Gao ’23 highlighted the GBC as their favorite Bad Ideas Weekend. Gao heard of Bad Ideas Weekend through a freshman year dormspam and word-of-mouth as an EC resident; they expressed that it was “the deciding factor for me to return to campus before the spring semester,” being one of their favorite IAP activities.
There’s “nothing quite like spending four hours in a sweaty stairwell climbing the 18+ stories of the Green Building with your friends, solely for bragging rights,” Gao observed.
Marco Rodriguez ’26 echoed the sentiment, stating that they felt “like a true Next House patriot” by helping “to represent against the other EC floors.” According to the official results, Next House scored 5th place with 106 runs. Gao and Rodriguez were not alone in their sweaty efforts, as 127 MIT students participated in the Green Building challenge according to Espedal.
Student Feedback and Reflections
MIT students shared positive feedback regarding Bad Ideas Weekend, particularly with respect to food-related events. Reyes underscored their desire to continue participating in Bad Ideas Weekend, “especially the food events. Food is the great unifier in this world.”
Choi felt it to be a great way to take a break from academics and have fun with friends. Without Bad Ideas Weekend, “I would never get to see MIT students chowing down on a kimbap filled with lasagna, mango jelly, wasabi peas, and a taquito,” they reflected.
Ayoub felt that the energy in East Campus was high, making it “a really fun way to feel included as part of a bigger goal/whole.” Ayoub also stated that many of the 2^n Baguette attendees “stayed friends even after the event even though we had never met prior to the weekend.”
Following the event, 2^n Baguettes donated their bready creations to a local food bank, a great way “to make the bad idea into a not so bad” one according to Zu.
Gao expressed confusion regarding the rules of the GBC, specifically how final scores were calculated. While “the team for Beast [2E] ran the most (287) ascents,” they placed third due to the counting of negative ascents run by other participants after “a rule change that was made after the challenge had concluded.” In the future, Gao requested GBC rules be “finalized and publicized beforehand.”
Rodriguez shared that they would “have appreciated a bit more non-traditional ideas,” but overall “loved the events.”
Organizing Bad Ideas Weekend
Planning for Bad Ideas Weekend began in November, starting with the election of chairs and an onboarding process from previous chairs. According to Espedal, the dormspam requesting event ideas received 80+ submissions. Though there were “many great (or Bad, if you will) ideas,” the final 27 events were selected based on safety, fun, accessibility, and budget criteria.
The Bad Ideas Weekend chairs reported that getting events approved by MIT administration was “quite a journey”—with Webb noting that “on multiple occasions, we were suddenly informed that various events were being canceled or restricted.” However, following meetings involving concerned parties and the assistance of Environment, Health, and Safety coordinator Alice Ursella, Bad Ideas weekend ran successfully with “everyone satisfied and excited.”
Event planners also felt the organizing committee did well providing necessary resources and funds. “The committee was great in providing us with all the things we needed,” stated Zu. Ayoub echoed this sentiment, remarking that “they answered all our questions” and “were always there to support us!”
When asked about whether Bad Ideas Weekend would continue in the following years given the upcoming renovation of East Campus, Webb declared that “there are absolutely plans to continue Bad Ideas Weekend into renovations.”
In particular, they noted that one of their goals was to incorporate other dorms into Bad Ideas Weekend (2^n Baguettes was held in McCormick, Cursed Kimbap was held in Next House). Furthermore, Webb expressed their “hope [that] the events next year are larger and even more terrible than those we hosted this year.”
Bad Ideas Weekend was sponsored by the MIT Dormitory Council, Large Event Fund, and DeFlorez Fund for Humour. Students can send feedback regarding the event to the organizers at email@example.com.