The Hug Mug: Warming all of Winnipeg


Grade 11 Art students were invited to design and build a warming hut for the 2018 Red River Mutual Trail at The Forks and met the challenge head on. Students quickly started to design, refine and receive feedback from experts in our alumni community. This resulted in the design of the Hug Mug, a larger than life coffee mug tipped on its side, spilling out hot chocolate and marshmallows.  

Ted Geddert (‘84) MBCI alumnus, current MBCI basketball coach and owner of Holz Custom-Prefab, was part of the community that provided feedback and advice to our students. Geddert quickly offered to supply the materials needed, as well as offering his building experience to work alongside our students during construction. Hear from Geddert on his experience about giving back to our school community:

What inspired you to get involved with this student project?
Along with a few others, I was asked to review the initial ideas by the student group. I do work with many in the Winnipeg Design Community including the people behind The Forks Warming Huts, and this class’s big ideas immediately grabbed me. I figured if this cluster of ideas had that kind of impact on me, then it had the potential to have a huge positive impact on the students directly involved, the larger student body and the people of Winnipeg.

How has working with our student/school community impacted you?
You get to see a bit of everything, the struggle to pull together a team, the positive vibe a cool project can bring to people. It was great to connect and collaborate with the students and staff. I gained clarity on the kind of projects I want to contribute to and participate in.

What do you hope our students learn from this project?
That a successful project is messy. It takes effort and struggle to pick one singular design from a number of great ideas. It takes effort to execute the big idea. The process and final product is far from perfect, yet so inspiring. I hope they can look back and see how they all contributed to a big idea that people will engage with and enjoy for a long time.

What do you hope visitors to The Forks take away from experiencing the Hug Mug?
Just prior to the Press Conference at The Forks, I saw a family check it out. The kids hugged the marshmallows and the parents leaned back on the comfy benches, smiling and laughing.  I spent a few minutes inside the Mug with the guy who is the big idea behind the RAW ALMOND food event on the rivers, and he marveled at how it was constructed. I hope people will experience it as play, as design, and how a student body comes together to achieve something world class that is more than just some wood screwed together.

Has there been a moment where you’ve been pleasantly surprised while working on this project?
When we were building it on the sidewalk at the school on that nice January day, old-school tunes cranked, kids singing and drilling, and I was just able to sit back for a bit and enjoy the moment. I hoped and prayed for a moment like that.

How did your time at MBCI inspire your journey to where you are today?
The school has done so much for me and my family. I met my wife Carrie there. I still interact with the teachers and coaches who got me through my time at MBCI, even the ones who taught me poetry when I didn’t like poetry, or pushed me to my limit on the court. I remain close friends with some who I graduated with. Our four kids attend(ed) MBCI, and the school helped our family get through the tough time when Sammy died while in grade 8. When I reflect and begin to recognize how much of an impact the school had on my life, I just can’t help but want the same for others, which is why I want to participate where I can, how I can, with all I got. You know, the parable about not hiding your light.