Students Host Inaugural Greenway Symposium on "Big Ideas"
Students Host Inaugural Greenway Symposium on "Big Ideas"

More than 120 community members gathered at the Greenway Rise Auditorium on Dec. 10 for the inaugural, student-led Greenway Symposium. Five speakers from diverse fields within the Charlottesville area shared their "big ideas" on building community.

Student organizers Junho Moon '17, Kurt Bertone '17, Jerry Yao '18, Yuelin Dang '18, and Piper Holden '19 worked on organizing the event for approximately one calendar year. They invited the selected speakers based on their work in the community and ability to engage in audience in a TED Talk-styled presentation.

"I joined planning the Greenway Symposium this past summer when Junho approached me and asked me to join team," said Holden.

"Throughout the summer, Junho, Kurt and I Skyped while we were in different countries planning the project and who we were going to invite. I think the core of the event is community... this entire event was designed to grow community outside of the School by listening to speakers throughout Charlottesville and having attendees from the Charlottesville area. Not only were the speakers amazing, inspiring leaders in our town, but they were close to home. This idea of strengthening our community and gaining new and differing perspectives is what originally drew me to joining the team."

The speakers included:

  • Dan Rosensweig, president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater Charlottesville, who explained the importance of partnering with low-income communities and beginning from a platform of what they already have rather than what they might lack;
  • Timothy J. Longo, former Charlottesville chief of police, who spoke of relational policing and how there has never been a more exciting and important time to build community in this way;
  • Wendy Amato, director of curriculum and academics at educational travel company World Strides, who discussed the importance of making oneself uncomfortable with new experiences and respecting other cultures while in the process;
  • Toan Nguyen, co-founder of C'ville Coffee, C'ville Central, and the Community Investment Collaborative, who shared his ideas on the importance of social entrepreneurism and the concept of dignity;
  • James Coan, a psychology professor at the University of Virginia and director of the Virginia Affective Neuroscience Library, who presented his research emphasizing the neuroscience of emotion and social relationships.

More coverage of the event can be found in the Charlottesville Tomorrow article Symposium Promotes Community Dialogue and the NBC 29 piece on STAB Hosts First Greenway Symposium Guest Speaker Event.

Photos from the event are available on the School's SmugMug account.