Ready or Not

August 26, 2013

Hannah Bebbington ’14 is a Starr Fellow working for the A Better World by Design conference.

Today marks the 5-week out date. We launch September 27th, welcoming hundreds of students, entrepreneurs, professors, politicians, scientists, and innovators to Brown and RISD’s campus - whether we are ready or not. We have spent the last 10 months planning each detail, networking in Providence, inviting our newest heroes, and agonizing over email text. There will be no dress rehearsal, only the real deal. There will be sleepless nights over coordinating all presenters’ schedules and moments of panic when we realize we’ve forgotten to order napkins for dinner. But, in the end, we know we will have done everything we can to ensure a smooth and seamless conference. Is that what its all about though?

No, its certainly not. If there is anything I have learned over the past 10 months, it’s that conferences are about people (not silverware), ideas (not goodie bags). While the extra details—the branding, the beautiful exhibits, the great social events—help create an exciting atmosphere, it all boils down to the connections made.

Working with the A Better World by Design planning committee has given me a circle of friends that are talented beyond words. They have built their own cars and launched startups. To plan a conference where we bring many interesting people together in one space is exhilarating. Each meeting reminds me of this: We slave for this community. We spend the anxious moments worrying so that we may create the best space for people. As we get closer and closer to the conference, the details can seem never ending and all important. We must remember, however, why we do what we do. And that is to bring together people, to create a community, and to inspire real action and change.