For a better experience, click the Compatibility Mode icon above to turn off Compatibility Mode, which is only for viewing older websites.

Interdisciplinary Case Competition

Anthems for the Anthropocene banner

Anthems for the Anthropocene

An interdisciplinary climate case competition for all Drexel students

April 1-22, 2022 (spring term weeks 1-4)

Registration Is Now Closed

We are facing a future with an altered climate, one with impacts that we are already feeling. We are learning, however, that simply knowing that climate change is accelerating is not enough to spur effective action, and that we must find ways to convey the importance of climate action in ways that reach our families, friends, and neighbors on a deeply personal level. Music has long been a way of inspiring reflection, action, and change. Can it move the needle on climate action?

Climate change is a crisis that we are living through now. We feel its impacts in our health, our environment, our infrastructure, our economy – it has implications for just about every facet of our daily lives. A warming climate means more summer heat, rising sea levels, more extreme weather, and those are existential threats to both human and animal communities around the world. The impacts of climate change are not distributed equally: Black and brown communities and the Global South bear the heaviest burdens even as their economies contribute far fewer greenhouse gas emissions per capita compared to the Global North. We need to muster all of our available tools to address this crisis: science, engineering, policy, diplomacy, communication, and, not least of all, artistic expression.

Competing teams in “Anthems for the Anthropocene” are challenged to create, perform and record an original song that conveys a message about climate change that also inspires and empowers listeners. The strongest entries will feature both lyrics and musical composition that are creative, compelling and entertaining. Participating teams will be able to take advantage of skills workshops and drop-in guidance sessions on climate content during the span of the contest. Please see below for a full list of competition rules.

The competition is open to up to a maximum of 10 teams on a first-come, first-served basis. Participation is limited to Drexel undergraduate and graduate students. Participants may apply as an already-existing band or as solo songwriter-performers. If you are not a member of a band and you are not a solo performer but you would like to participate, we have created a team in Microsoft Teams for networking to find songwriting partners. To find that team, open Teams, click on “Join or create a team,” then click on “Join a team with a code” and enter code 58363q4. If you use this networking platform, remember that you will still need to register.

*$2,000 Prize Pool*

The overall winning team will additionally receive time with Drexel’s Music Industry Program sound engineer Cyrille Tallandier and producer James McKinney in a Drexel recording studio to create a professional quality recording. The top teams’ songs will be shared throughout Drexel information channels, including at our campus locations and through digital dissemination.


Dates and Deadlines:

Registration for "Anthems for the Anthropocene" opens Friday, March 11, 2022, at 8 a.m. ET and closes Friday, March 25, 2022, at 12 p.m. ET.


The case competition will run from April 1 through April 22, 2022, weeks 1 - 4 of the spring term.

  • Week of Feb. 28 through March 10 — Competition announcement and team formation
  • March 11 — Registration opens until spots are filled or close date
  • March 21 — Registration closes
  • March 25 — Teams notified
  • April 1 — Launch event (mandatory)
  • April 1-6 — Supplemental programming (see below)
  • April 14 — Song submission deadline: Teams will submit their songs by Thursday, April 14, at 9 a.m. ET. At least one member of each participating team must attend both the launch event and the final event to be eligible for awards.
  • April 15-21 — Judging period
  • April 22 — Final Celebration (mandatory): The final celebration event will occur on April 22, Earth Day, in the auditorium at the Academy of Natural Sciences, COVID-19 permitting, from 7-9 p.m. The winners will be announced at the competition final on Friday, April 22, at 7 p.m. ET. During the final, teams will be asked to describe and present their songs, with the overall winning team and category awards announced.

Competition Programming

During the two weeks of the competition, participating teams will have access to two exclusive in-person workshops as well as an “office hours” period with Drexel faculty members who are climate content experts. Please note, some of the programming must be attended by at least one member of each team.

Launch Event featuring “The Art and Craft of Songwriting” with Mumu Fresh

April 1, 6-8 p.m. ET
Music Industry Program Recording Studio One
One Drexel Plaza: 3101 Market Street, Suite 020 in the Garden Level

The competition begins with a launch event and songwriting workshop on Friday, April 1, from 6-8 p.m. The launch event will feature an informative presentation on the competition prompt and deliverables, and competition organizers will be available to answer questions.

Acclaimed Grammy-nominated performing artist Mumu Fresh will host a songwriting workshop exclusively for contest participants during the launch event. At least one member of each participating team must attend the launch in order to be eligible for prizes.

Mumu Fresh

About Mumu Fresh

Mumu Fresh (also known as Maimouna Youssef) is a Grammy-nominated singer, MC, songwriter, activist, workshop facilitator, audio engineer, and acclaimed hip-hop artist who’s been called “a quadruple threat” by the Roots’ Black Thought and “groundbreaking” by Oscar-winning artist, Common. She is also an Indigenous Music award-winning Musical Ambassador for the US, former elected Governor of the DC Chapter of the Recording Academy and an Ambassador of The Black Music Collective.

While touring six continents, Mumu Fresh has built a relationship with over 250K engaged fans who have shared and streamed her recorded music millions of times in at least 100 countries throughout the world to date. Mumu Fresh has shared the stage and or collaborated with the likes of Dave Chappelle, The Roots, Salaam Remi, D Smoke, Anderson Paak, Bruno Mars, Femi Kuti, Zap Mama, Nas, Jill Scott, Ed Sheeran, Common, Raphael Saadiq, and Tobe Nwigwe just to name a few. Mumu Fresh’s music and philanthropic endeavors have been featured in publications such as Variety, Ebony, Essence, BET, NPR, Al-Jazeera, Rolling Stone, Afro Punk, and more.

Mumu Fresh is quickly becoming known as an independent music mogul for her generation. She is committed to “Art Activism” and has performed within the US prison system, Congressional Black Caucus, I.M.A.N. Central in Chicago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Indigenous People’s Movement and more, bringing awareness to important social issues. Mumu Fresh is a global citizen, musical healer, cultural philanthropist and a community pillar.

Maimouna has served as a mentor for several Grammy U affiliated young aspiring artists. In 2020, she founded her own online music education platform called “Muniversity Studies” to teach aspiring artists how to reimagine the music business and thrive independently with purpose.

Climate Change Office Hours

April 4, 2-4 p.m. on Zoom

Teams will be invited to take advantage of Climate Change Office Hours on Monday, April 4, from 2-4 p.m. During this two-hour drop-in session held on Zoom, participants may bring their questions about climate change to Drexel professors with expertise in climate from perspectives of science, policy, engineering, justice, public health, and more.

How to Turn Your Song Into a Great Recording With Cyrille Tallandier and James McKinney

April 6, 6-8 p.m. ET
Music Industry Program Computer Lab
One Drexel Plaza: 3101 Market Street, Suite 020 in the Garden Level

Drexel Music Industry Program Professors Taillandier and McKinney will show participants some of the basics of sound recording and walk teams through techniques for making the best possible recording with the equipment that you have.

About Cyrille Taillandier

After graduating in 1996 from the Ecole Superieure de Realisation Audiovisuelle (Paris, France), Cyrille Taillandier started his professional career as an assistant recording engineer. From 1996 to 1999 he worked at a number of prominent French studios including Davout, Soft-ADS, Miraval, and Le Manoir. As a second engineer for the recording of the multi-platinum and award winning Essence Ordinaire by the renowned French band Zebda, Cyrille worked side by side with the album’s producer Nicholas Sansano and traveled to New York for the completion of the record. He fell in love with the city and moved to Brooklyn in 1999. For the next two years Cyrille worked as a Pro Tools engineer and mix assistant with Tony Maserati on multi-platinum albums including Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor, P. Diddy’s Forever, R. Kelly’s, and Jennifer Lopez’s On the 6. Cyrille has been an independent audio and Pro Tools engineer since 2001. In 2006 he began teaching at the Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU. Cyrille joined AWCoMAD’s Music Industry Program in 2007. His recent credits include Lenny Kravitz’s Black and White America and Angelique Kidjo’s OYO.

About James McKinney

James McKinney is an experienced creative professional having spent nearly 20 years as an executive manager with various media and music companies. He is also an accomplished engineer, producer, songwriter, arranger, film-scorer, keyboardist, vocalist, musical director, educator and philanthropist. In James’ experience as producer and music director he has worked with Doug E. Fresh, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Faith Evans, Chuck Brown, Wale, Rachell Ferrell, Kenny Lattimore, Raheem Devaughn, Bankie Banx, Kenny Burrell, James Moody, and more. His performance, co-writing and co-production also contributed to two Grammy Nominated Performances in the Urban Alternative category.

In addition to these accomplishments, James has scored for film, television and web and most recently contributed to the score and sound-track for the award winning films My Last Day Without You and S.O.U.L Of A Black Woman. His scoring credits also include commercial scores for Discovery Channel and Johnson & Johnson to name a few.

McKinney currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of Eusonia Records, and also owns and operates Infinite Icon Enterprises, LLC, his production company. James also uses his skills to enhance the human condition through philanthropy and education globally. In fact, within the last few years, James has performed concerts, educational workshops in music and music business in seven countries, including China, Taiwan, England, Papua New Guinea, Anguilla and Haiti. His work in Anguilla also garnered a 2021 Tec Award Nomination for Studio Design for AMA Recording, the studio he co-designed and built in The AMA Center, a Caribbean hub for technology and innovation which he also happens to co-manage. He recently completed several terms as a National Co-Chair of the Producers and Engineers Wing of the Grammys; and as a Trustee of the Board of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, (also known as The Grammy Association).

James counts his musical talents, business savvy and experience as a blessing and looks forward to continuing to use these gifts for the betterment and empowerment of people needing and seeking positive inspiration around the world, as he continues to share his and other’s music globally through live performance and recorded music.

Final Celebration Event

Earth Day, April 22, 7 – 9 p.m.
Academy of Natural Sciences auditorium


Anthems for the Anthropocene is sponsored by:

Download the flyer

Anthems for the Anthropocene: a climate change songwriting contest


What is a case competition?  

Teams of students come together to create potential solutions to a problem. There is a set time limit and specific rules to which every team must adhere.

Why would I participate in "Anthems for the Anthropocene" case competition?

Case competitions provide students an opportunity to develop and enhance their analytical abilities, critical thinking, oral presentation, and communication skills. In addition, case competitions encourage networking between students as well as with leaders in the Drexel community. Participants in our case competition have reported that they have made new friends and that these are some of the most important experiences they have had as Drexel students. “Anthems for the Anthropocene” additionally offers an opportunity to create and share impactful artistic work with the Drexel community.

Who can participate?

This competition is open to all Drexel graduate and undergraduate students.

What is required to participate?

Because participation is limited to 10 teams, each accepted team must commit to completing the competition and attending the required events. Each team will need to create an original song in response to the prompt and present their song at the competition final. Each team member should be prepared to fully contribute to the team’s effort. At least one member from each team must:

  • Attend the competition launch and songwriting workshop on April 1, 6-8 p.m.
  • Attend the final celebration at the Academy of Natural Sciences on April 22, 7-9 p.m.

What if I have questions about the prompt?

The competition launch event (April 1) will include an informative presentation from competition organizers, including music industry experts. The organizers will also be taking questions from the teams, so be ready with your questions about the basic parameters for competition deliverables. The organizing team will also be available to answer questions throughout the span of the competition.

What constitutes a team?

For this competition we are welcoming student bands, performing groups, and even solo performers to enter as teams. We are not limiting the team sizes (in the event an entire orchestra may decide to enter!) but in-person workshop space may have some limits due to Covid-19 safety restrictions. Individual students who would like to participate on a team but need help finding one should use the networking platform that we have created to find others looking for a team ahead of the registration period. To take advantage of this, open Teams, click on “Join or create a team,” then click on “Join a team with a code” and enter code 58363q4. If you use this networking platform, remember that you will still need to register!

I play in a band, and we want to participate. Should we register individually or as a group?

You can register as a group! We will have a space for that in the registration form.

Not all of the members of my band are Drexel students. Can they participate?

Due to current COVID-19 safety restrictions, we can only permit Drexel students to participate in the in-person workshops, and therefore we are making this competition available only to Drexel students. All team members must be either a Drexel graduate or undergraduate student.

I’d like to participate, but I’m not in a band and I’m not a solo performer. What should I do?

If you are unable to enter with an already-existing group or band or as a solo performer and would like to be matched with others, you may use the provided networking space in Microsoft Teams. Use the chat function to share your name, contact information, and what instrument you play, including vocals, and look for other students in need of a team. To find that team, open Teams, click on “Join or create a team,” then click on “Join a team with a code” and enter code 58363q4. If you use this networking platform, remember that you will still need to register!

Does my team need to attend the launch and closing events?

Yes. Each team needs to have at least one member present at the launch and final celebration. At the launch, teams can learn details about the competition challenge and ask the organizing team clarifying questions about the expectations for competition deliverables. There will also be an exciting song-writing workshop let by Grammy-nominated songwriter and performing artist Mumu Fresh built into the launch. At the final celebration event, teams will be expected to take the stage to introduce and describe their songs.

Does my team need to attend office hours?

No, the office hours period is not mandatory. However, office hours are an opportunity to connect with Drexel researchers to ask questions about climate change and refine your ideas for lyrics. It could be beneficial to have at least one team member participate in office hours. Office hours are an unstructured drop-in time, and you can bring your ideas or questions at any point during the two-hour period.

The workshop with Mumu Fresh looks great! Can I come to that without participating in the competition?

The competition workshops and supplemental activities are open only to registered participants. If for some reason you can’t join us as a competitor, please attend the final celebration event to cheer on your fellow students!

What constitutes an eligible song?

Judges are looking for original songs that thoroughly engage through lyrics and musical composition with the prompt as discussed in the launch event. “Original” means the music and lyrics are new, not published or performed prior to the competition. The composition may not include samples from other artists’ work or covers of preexisting music. Songs found to be duplicative or unoriginal will be disqualified. Teams must submit an MP3 audio file in which they perform their original song, along with a lyric sheet, by the April 14, 9 a.m. deadline.

How will the winning song be chosen?

Prizes will be awarded on the strength of the song’s lyrics and quality of the musical composition. The judging rubric will be shared with competitors once the competition begins. In addition, we will include a “people’s choice” scoring segment that will invite voting by the broader Drexel community. People’s Choice voting will be available between April 18 and 20. Our panel of judges includes music industry insiders and performers as well as Drexel sustainability champions.

Who owns the rights to our song?

You, the artist or artists, will own the rights to your song. But by agreeing to participate, you will also permit Drexel to share your song through our information channels. We’ll ask you to sign off on that permission in the registration process.

How does the prize pool work?

The first-place team will share $1000, distributed among each team member as Visa gift cards. The second-place team receives $600, and the third-place team $400. All winning teams will need to submit information such as student ID numbers to receive gift cards.

What about the recording time for the winning team?

The first-place team will have access to 12 total hours of studio recording time with world-class music industry professionals: sound engineer Cyrille Tallandier and music producer James McKinney. Teams may choose to create a professional quality recording of their competition song, or of other music of their choice.

What are the rules and fine print for the case competition?

This case competition is for Drexel students to write an original song about climate change.

The competition is open to all Drexel students: undergraduate, graduate, and online.

Up to 10 song submissions will be accepted, one per accepted team, band, or solo performer.

Fully formed bands may enter but all members must be currently enrolled at Drexel.

Solo singer songwriters may enter and must be currently enrolled at Drexel.

If you are unable to enter with an already-existing group or band or as a solo performer and would like to be matched with others, you may use the provided networking space in Microsoft Teams. Use the chat function to share your name, contact information, and what instrument you play, including vocals, and look for other students in need of a team.

No sampling or use of lyrics from your own or other artists’ existing songs is permitted; any song entries that are found to contain work that is not your own original and new creation will be eliminated.

One member from each team must attend the competition launch and songwriting workshop on April 1, 6 - 8 p.m. One member from each team must attend the final celebration at the Academy of Natural Sciences on April 22, 7 - 9 p.m.

Songs will be judged based on melody, composition, originality, and lyrics by a panel of judges, with a “People’s Choice” component. The song and songwriting will be judged; audio quality is not a judging criterion.

Teams must submit their deliverables no later than 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. Teams must provide one mp3 file, one mp4 file, and a lyric sheet for their song in addition to providing the song title, name of band if applicable, and names of all participants completing the challenge.

Entry constitutes permission for Drexel to use participants’ names, likenesses, and voices for future marketing and publicity purposes without additional compensation.

There will be three winners; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd-place prizes will be awarded. The 1stplace team will receive gift cards totaling $1000.00. 2ndplace gift cards will total $600.00, and 3rdplace will total $400.00.

The 1st-place team, or individual is singer songwriter, will also receive two six-hour blocks of recording time at Drexel’ Studio 20 recording studio with producer James McKinney and sound engineer Cyrille Taillandier.

Questions? Please reach out via email:

To learn more about Climate and Sustainability at Drexel, browse the website.