Kinetic holds conference on social change

Students attend the first ever Kinetic conference on implementing ideas to create social change.--Photo courtesy of Olivia Larsen
Students attend the first ever Kinetic conference on implementing ideas to create social change.–Photo courtesy of Olivia Larsen

On Saturday and Sunday, the Kinetic executive team successfully ran the first Kinetic Conference at the College. The conference emphasized the larger goal of Kinetic: taking powerful ideas and implementing them to create social change. The conference consisted of speakers who implemented change using social entrepreneurship and problem solving in their respective fields. Many of these practical, real-world solutions take their form in small businesses and government or social organizations, the result of projects the speakers started while they attended high school or college.

At the conference opening, Bryan Jones ’16, a member of the Kinetic executive team, welcomed all of the attendees and talked about the conference’s agenda. The welcome was followed by talks from a number of speakers. Carissa Carter ’01, founder of Parallel Design Labs, spoke at the conference. She is a designer and design educator who creates visual solutions for different work and display environments. These redesigns help with visual appeal, creating further benefits. For example, she rearranges office workspaces in order help office workflow and increase worker creativity.

Ellen Futter, president of the Museum of Natural History in New York City, talked about using the content and exhibits in the Museum of Natural History to help teach children about science and history in fun and exciting ways. These exhibits act as a type of supplemental learning to what they might learn in school. Kinetic member Jackson Barber ’18 said he was “very impressed with her professionalism and efficiency” and that she had “a very good delivery.”

Some speakers implemented action to promote social change on an even larger scale. Scott Warren is the co-founder and executive director of Generation Citizen, a company that seeks to improve the civics education in schools by working with civics teachers to devise an innovative and interesting curriculum. He spoke about his company at the conference. By influencing the education of children at a young age in many different schools, he said, Generation Citizen is creating change both on a large scale and in a way that will have a lasting effect.

Eden Fuller, another conference speaker, is the inventor of SunSaluter, a low-cost device attached to solar panels that angles them towards the sun throughout the day to maximize solar power. This piece of technology increases power by up to 30 percent and is currently used in nine countries. SunSaluter is especially popular in developing countries such as India because it helps to negate the potential cost and inefficiency of solar power.

After these speeches, breakout sessions took place to emphasize important parts of the talks. If a social problem was brought up in a speech, Kinetic members and conference attendees would brainstorm to come up with practical and innovative solutions to the problem at hand, effectively enacting what they just heard stories about: action to create change from ideas.