November Project comes to campus

by Alyssa Gocinski / Beacon Staff • February 5, 2014

1391666453 gabegibbs courtesydoosterfilms.jpg
Senior Gabe Gibbs has attended November Project’s workouts since November.
Courtesy of Dooster Film
Senior Gabe Gibbs has attended November Project’s workouts since November.
Courtesy of Dooster Film

The term “snow day” does not exist in the vocabulary of some of Boston’s most dedicated athletes. Members of November Project have pledged to prevail through their outdoor workouts without fail, regardless of the weather.

November Project, a fitness movement created in Boston by Northeastern alumni Brogan Graham and Bojan Mandaric, aims to bring people of all ages and fitness levels together to participate in upbeat, vigorous workouts to keep physically fit year round.

Graham and Mandaric have held free workouts every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning since November 2011, hence the name “November Project.” Monday’s workouts consist of running to and from a different location every week, Wednesday’s of running steps at Harvard Stadium, and Friday’s of running the hill at Summit Avenue.

They have gained attention over the years, having been featured in publications including Runner’s World, Oprah Magazine, The Boston Globe, and Boston Magazine.

Career Services has invited the two co-founders of November Project to visit Emerson’s Bill Bordy Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 11 to share their professional experiences and advice in a question-and-answer session.

Marissa Shallcross, assistant director of career services and liaison to visual and media arts and performing arts, said she has participated in workouts hosted by November Project, and thought it would be helpful for students to learn how the two men successfully launched their own personal brand, a grassroots fitness movement.

“The guys did an incredible job of starting with a concept and creating this kind of community fitness,” Shallcross said. “People are really interested in it.”

Shallcross stressed that the strategies Graham and Mandaric used to grow and define their project could easily apply to any student who is looking to step into the professional arena.

“By using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, students can shape their own professional identities,” she said.

Although the question-and-answer portion of the event will be solely focused on the entrepreneurial aspects of November Project and on the importance of social media, she encourages everyone to attend one of the workouts.

“It’s very different from going to the gym,” Shallcross said. “There’s a ton of energy.”

She said November Project once hosted a workout at Emerson, which convinced many students to dedicate themselves to the movement. Orrin Whalen, a senior performing arts major, said he is in the process of pledging a new branch of November Project in Los Angeles, where he attends the new Emerson campus.

Gabe Gibbs, a senior performing arts major, said he has been consistently attending workouts hosted by November Project since November.

“The first time I went, I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “The workouts are tough; they kicked my butt.”

He said Emerson students meet in the Little Building lobby every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:50 a.m. and head over to the workouts together.

“I was shocked by how accepting it was, because I always heard how badass it was,” he said. “But everyone’s always pumped that you’re there.”

Graham and Mandaric are usually present at the Boston workouts; however, they occasionally take part in workouts at their other nine locations, including Denver, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. According to Gibbs, some workouts he’s attended have had over 400 participants.

“Bojan and Brogan are so encouraging and tough as nails,” Gibbs said. “They genuinely care about everyone who’s running.”

He said while some leaders are more concerned with racking up as many members as possible, Graham and Mandaric are passionate about creating a fun community that will lead people to become their best.

“Everyone’s just screaming and shouting and hugging and sweating and encouraging each other,” he said. “It’s hard, but it’s so amazing and empowering.”

Kayla VanFleet, a sophomore marketing communication major who is studying abroad in Ireland this semester, said working out with November Project quickly became the highlight of her fall semester. She said although November Project sounds intimidating, and waking up before 6 a.m. may not sound too enjoyable, there is no valid excuse not to try it out.

“Nobody cares if you have a six pack or you show up hung over after having too many six packs,” she wrote in an email to the Beacon. “Just show up.”

VanFleet, who began her involvement with November Project in October, said she misses the workouts and the community.

“You’re not going to regret it for a second,” she wrote. “Even when your legs are uncontrollably shaking on the T ride home after your first day of completing the stadium steps or you’re dozing off in your 10 a.m., you won’t mind.”