I would like to preface this post by saying last Sunday was a long day. Very exciting and rewarding, but also very tiring and exhausting. Also, I had fully intended on writing about this amazing event six days ago, but alas, life got in the way. But that’s all for another post. This is exclusive about the conference I have been a part of since last fall and help see through from just an idea, to a successfully impactful event with a future.
The day-long conference is a mix of speaker presentations from students, professors and influential people in the community around Penn State, and break-out group discussion about how to transform our school into something better. As a marketing committee member, I’ve been promoting the heck out of this event over the past few months. But how do you convince people to dedicate their entire Sunday to an event that has never been done before? They didn’t know what to expect any more than we really did.
But people came. They filled the 30-some round tables. They listened and they discussed, they cultivated relationships with strangers or strengthened bonds with friends.
I think the event was so successful because of the way the content was curated. Instead of giving a few speakers an hour to talk, we kept things short and sweet – about ten minutes per speaker – to keep momentum going. No matter the subject, whether it be about things I couldn’t relate to directly – being an international student here – or the scandal, or the university’s relationship with the State College community, I was rapt with attention.
Once everything was said and done, some eight odd hours later, it’s safe to say everyone who helped put on the event – our fantastic executive directors who just had an idea eighteen months ago to hold an event about ‘the state of Penn State,’ Suzanne and Patrick, the entire[ly wonderful] executive board, all the committee members, from marketing to content to operations – was elated.
My inability to be fully involved with the second annual State of State next year is just another bullet point on the growing list about why I’m sad to be leaving early next year. But, I’ll definitely be returning as an alumni to be engaged and educated about the issues we care about and need to address.
The speaker presentations from the conference will be on YouTube soon, and I could talk for days about how amazing State of State was and the positive feedback we got from everyone, but for now, I’ll leave you with the selfie I took with the Lion during lunch.