MJ Gray

Hosting the Orange Trial Tournament Open (OTTO) Mock Trial competition is a monumental step for Mock Trial at Syracuse University as we establish our newer team in the American Mock Trial Association. As a tournament co-coordinator, along with fellow honors student Lucio Maffei, we have been able to outline and plan our entire competition. We have researched the competition format and ballot tabulation, conducted outreach to invite 50+ universities, recruited 200+ lawyers for judging, and coordinated with Maxwell/Arts & Sciences and the Office of Student Engagement. This experience has taught me about professional networking, marketing, and administration as we have researched and determined how to take our original idea of hosting a tournament and figure out how to make that a reality.

I was not expecting to encounter as many issues with developing and submitting our tournament budget for the Student Association. There were many costs that SA policies will not cover, such as trophies, tab cards, and some of our catering budget. I was also surprised to learn how strict these budget requirements are, considering our first budget was sent back for not having adequate proof of costs despite having receipts and quotes from necessary sources.

Planning OTTO has taught me so much and given me valuable experience in event planning. From professional networking and developing relationships with other college mock trial teams, to connecting with OSE to navigate bureaucratic barriers, this tournament has been an enriching experience for myself and my executive board. As for MTSU as a whole, this tournament has allowed us to expand our network and will situate Syracuse as a new hub for mock trial in the New York area.

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