Kudos and suggestions for the Cap Times Idea Fest

Attracted by the stellar lineup, I attended several sessions at the Cap Times Idea Fest. While generally pleased with the production, I recommend some changes for next year.

The Cap Times staff who served as moderators curated lively discussions with a friendly collaborative tone and pushed speakers past set scripts. In contrast, sessions led by late-career, topic-expert moderators were not nearly as dynamic.

Relying heavily on stage-bound sessions, the event was more of a parade of ideas than a festival. Questions from the audience were collected, but too few were asked. Quick changeovers left little time for conversations, either among friends or with nearby seatmates who were bursting with thoughts. Future fests should better facilitate discussion among attendees and provide more opportunities during and after the event to network and share ideas.

There was a distinct lack of youth in attendance. I wasn’t shocked that attendees were predominantly older, liberal and Caucasian. But, with the Saturday event on campus during the football team’s bye week, I would have hoped for more diversity. Youth have ideas and passion abound. They may certainly be too busy or poor to attend this type of event, but every effort should be made by the organizers and sponsors to attract their invaluable contributions.

Thank you for organizing an event dedicated to furthering discourse and democracy.

CapTimes – September 26, 2019