Elliot Roth is a junior Biomedical Engineering major at VCU. You may be wondering what Biomedical Engineering has to do with CreateAthon. But after Mike Rodriguez, a first time team leader in 2013, told Eliot about CreateAthon and Elliot read an article online about it, he decided to get out of his comfort zone and applied to be a team leader. Sure enough, he found himself spending his semester meeting with clients and planning for his first ever CreateAthon.

“I wanted to do CreateAthon to learn something completely different.” Elliot said.  “What really drew me to CrateAthon was the fact that I was learning through doing and it helped nonprofits. I want to be an entrepreneur and I knew I would have to learn communications and leadership.”

He found it was a huge jump. Coming to a Mass Comm program from Biomedical Engineering was like learning a new language.

“When I say ‘margin’, I mean margin of error,” he said. “When Mass Comm majors say it, they mean ‘spacing between the text and the border of a page.’ It was another culture.”

And he had his doubts and fears coming into it.

“The scariest moment was when my computer broke before sending stuff in to the printer my first day of class. I felt so out of place that I wanted to drop it,” he said.

But fast forward to March, during the event, and Elliot felt right at home.

“The craziest moment was all of the costumes during CreateAthon. I wore a sleeping bag backwards, a onesie, multiple hats and shot nerf guns at everyone.”

And in the end, there’s always the moment that makes all of the hard work and insanity worth it.

“I was walking back from presenting to the client with my team. There was a feeling that we did something worthwhile and we felt invincible in the first light of the day,” he said.

For Elliot, this was his leap into something completely different. And the verdict?

“It was an incredibly valuable learning experience,” Elliot said.  “I learned that the more face time you spend with a client, the better. I learned that after a first draft, everything is possible. I learned that an analytic engineering mindset can work in a creative setting but has to stretch and bend and be open to the possibilities. I learned that in order to create great things for others, you have to be humble, empathetic and work hard,” he said. “It was incredibly fun and I’m going to tell all my friends to try it.”

For the amazing food we enjoyed, we would like to thank Jason’s Deli, Dixie Donuts, Panera Bread, Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s, Mellow Mushroom, Noodles & Company, Mo’s Sweet Mini’s, Urban Farmhouse, Cliff Bar and The Camel.

We were nothing without those extra caffeinated boosts of energy that kept us going sometimes when we felt we couldn’t go on. Thank you Alchemy and Blanchards, Costco and Panera Bread for making the delicious endless supply of coffee that was so neede possible.. A big shout goes out to Red Bull for lending us Red Bull can shaped coolers full of cans that kept us extra energized along with a couch and giant bean bag chair. All of these things were lifesavers at some point or another, for energy boosts, photo ops and cat naps alike!

Thank you to Plaza for the art supplies for further enabling us to do creative work for our clients. They went to very good use. 

And finally, sometimes we all needed a break. And everyone was raving about what sponsors provided.

Thank you to Ali Bullano, founder of Groovinyasa Yoga and teacher at Hot House Yoga for bringing yoga classes to CreateAthon. I took the class along with some regular yogis and people who had never done yoga before at all, and everyone was brought together and felt totally at ease. We were able to stretch and, most importantly, relax. Everyone I talked to after class was raving about how much they’d needed yoga and meditation and how very much appreciated it was.

And thank you to Richmond Comedy Coalition for bringing a comedy show to us! I’m not the only CreateAthoner who was a fan of your shows before you came here, but you certainly have many more after what you brought to our event. Thank you for not only providing entertainment that got everybody laughing but for incorporating us into your show. The epic game of rock paper scissors at the end was certainly one of the highlights of my night, and it was great to see everyone laughing and moving around when we all needed a pick me up. You helped the wheels of the creative process keep turning.

Sponsors were crucial in making CreateAthon what it is, a crazy and unpredictable creative marathon in all of the best ways. Thank you again from all of us at CreateAthon at VCU for all of the support and for cheering us on.




I sat in on the presentation for nonprofit learning point, a nonprofit that provides nonprofit and leadership development for the community.

The group, led by Elliot Roth, went above and beyond, emphasizing their goal to create a message that could really get out there and make local nonprofits aware of this resource that is so conveniently available to them. They identified a target audience and solutions which in part included a folder with inserts for promotional materials and a brochure. I’ll be able to share some examples here soon, but I can tell you now; it looked very clean, professional and clear. It was awesome.

The team identified the resources nonprofit learning solutions provides very clearly, and offered detailed advice for the nonprofit as they move forward and grow. They provided some deliverables above and beyond all of that, and identified word of mouth as one effective solution for awareness of this resource.

And in that moment of truth, after the insanity of these past 24 hours, the client responded with.. *drumroll please*..

"You guys are incredible. Just incredible." And she expressed gratitude for all of the work.

It was honestly moving to just be in the room for that. I’m pretty sure there were tears.

What followed were plenty of hugs, smiles, selfies and senses of relief and well deserved pride.

And as an added note, though the true award of CreateAthon is the satisfaction and joy that comes from turning in your work to a happy client, selfie game award of the year goes to Tommy McPhail. Seriously. His selfie game was consistently on point, and the client loved how the group incorporated the selfies into their presentation to give it a personal touch. #wellearned #impressed

Congratulations on a job well done!


I’m sitting in on some presentations now. This is so inspiring! To everyone who has been a part of CreateAthon at VCU 2014, there are no words for how impressive your work and dedication has been, all while also creating a fun and positive environment where people felt free to collaborate and create. It has been tough, zany, grueling and an absolute blast. But rather than just sing praises on here, I’ll leave it to the words of a client I’m listening in to now…

"You guys are incredible. JUST incredible!"


Now go to sleep, guys! You’ve earned it!!


Midnight check ins were a huge hit. (Midnight check in is the part where teams share what they’re working on with everyone here). And wow. There is some great great work being done right now, and I can’t wait to share it with the world on here when it’s all said and done! I feel lucky to be surrounded by so many talented people using their creative minds for good, full of energy drinks and delirium but somehow through all of the goofiness getting some serious work done. To say what people are doing tonight is impressive is an understatement. I am so proud of everyone! Keep going, guys!

CreateAthon Cribs

This is so important??

Burritos + corgis = you have no reason to not apply for CreateAthon next year. #HAPSPLACE2BE

Burritos + corgis = you have no reason to not apply for CreateAthon next year. #HAPSPLACE2BE

Uhh yeah nope not even pretending to understand anymore


This is a corgi who came for a visit. Her name is Matilda. That is all.