FutureFest: Featured Q&A
FutureFest: Featured Q&A
Various members of the FutureFest team provided responses to the following questions:
Sonali Chopra (SC) – Co-Chair (09-10), GAIA
Milena Gonzalez (MG) – Co-Chair (09-10), GAIA
Kevan Christensen (KC) – President (09-10), Green Living Council
David Geeter (DG) – Co-President (09-10), Students for a Sustainable Stanford
Alex Luisi (AL) – GAIA Member
Lily Kim (LK) – GAIA Member
Q: Could you explain the process whereby you brought into collaboration partner student groups, if any?
KC: We approached all active campus environmental groups that we could find and presented them with a proposal about the vision of GAIA. In addition, we reached out to a large number of student groups that might not have a direct environmental focus, but whose causes and missions aligned with the vision of FutureFest. SC: As the number of our partners grew, so did our vision. Instead of doing a conference, we decided to do a festival, because we decided a festival in White Plaza would be more dynamic. Van Jones was able to move the crowd with an inspiration speech surrounded by a diverse group of people. Through our partnerships with Stanford Concert Network (SCN) and Student Organizing Committee for the Arts (SOCA), we were able to highlight a celebratory aspect through showcases by Stanford artists and De La Soul. The interactive booths had a bigger educational impact than a conference, because instead of listening to talks about sustainability, students were able to experience it.
Q: Why did you want to engage the full Stanford student community?
DG: FutureFest 2010 was inspired by the need to grow and diversify the sustainability community in a fashion that supports direct sustainable initiatives at Stanford, in terms of campus operations and educational structure/opportunities. I believe we were all personally inspired by the challenge of getting the Stanford community together and do something specific and progressive, and better ourselves in communicating the severity and connectivity of social, economic and environmental sustainability. Our current community needed a baseline of support and acknowledgment from the community at large that, no matter how you slice it, everyone is part of this movement and has a responsibility to making this shift occur. Q:
If applicable, could you briefly elaborate upon any results/impacts your project has achieved?
AL: From FutureFest, we have gathered hundreds of signatures from students stating that we want a more transdisciplinary approach to education. The problems we must overcome cannot be solved at the same level where they were created, and so we must transcend that level and become problem solvers that look at every angle and every approach to overcoming issues in the world.
Q: In a nutshell, what is the greatest individual benefit this project has imparted to you? The greatest individual challenge?
LK: After meetings that would last over two hours for several days a week as the event drew nearer, I would ask myself, “Why am I doing it?” But the answer was always surprisingly clear. I felt energized and inspired after exchanging ideas with others. Through the process, I learned to talk with new students and staff members, develop ideas together and collaborate, not compete, to achieve our shared goal.
Q: From a long-term perspective, what trajectory do you see this project taking? Will it become a recurring event? Will it branch out beyond its current focus area?
MG: FutureFest was meant to create lasting effects through the education of its attendees on the topics of energy, food, water, waste and the reality of the sustainability challenges. In addition, one of our goals was to share the visions of students with the university in a document outlining concrete policies and objectives for Stanford to become a more sustainable and interdisciplinary campus. We are presenting our findings to the Study of Undergraduate Education at Stanford (SUES).