The inaugural State of State Conference will take place this Sunday in a sold-out Alumni Hall from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The student-run event will include 15 speakers — five faculty members, four alumni, and six students — who will speak about issues facing Penn State that go along with the event’s theme, “Past, Present, Progress.”
Unlike Penn State’s other major conference, TedxPSU, State of State will utilize facilitators to create a dialogue about issues following the speeches with the attendees. The organizers hope to engage the 300 attendees with a discussion of the issues that faces Penn State. By creating a dialogue not only between speakers, but also with attendees, the event will be more interactive than similar events, giving the audience more of a stake in the conference.
In total, the speeches will look to reach almost every aspect and group of the university, ranging from international students to alumni. Speeches will include the Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature Michael Bérubé’s look into the dwindling state support for higher education, former Nittany Lion mascot Rob Nellis’ speech on the Nittany Lion mascot’s resilience following the Sandusky Scandal in relation to other university symbols, and student Bret Turner who will be speaking about discrimination towards Penn State’s LGBT community.
The event’s topics aim to create a dialogue outside of the conference as well, and by choosing topics that affect all Penn Staters.