My name is Matt Dwyer and I am a sophomore majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
My goal at the SOUL Garden is to create a program that would bridge the gap between undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors. So, the SOUL Speaker Series was born. I envisioned a speaker (either graduate student, undergraduate student, or professor) coming to the garden to talk about a topic that they are passionate about or advocate for. Afterward, the audience is allowed to proceed with a scholarly discussion relating to the speech. The speaker at this point would ideally not talk as much, only to input their knowledge where they see fit or to provide discussion questions.
This speaker series has two major goals: Community building and building relationships between undergraduate students, graduate students, and professors. The first goal is achieved through the discussion that happens after. Presumably, the audience would consist of mostly NC State students. The discussion would be a safe environment where any argumentation would be constructive. Therefore, the audience would build a bond through an understanding of each other and themselves through conversation and exchanges.
The second goal is achieved by inviting a variety of speakers to the event. Allowing the audience to be on the same level as the speaker (both metaphorically and physically) is powerful and shows the speaker is simply another human being. I know as an undergraduate student I often shy away from conversation with professors or graduate students due their status, which can be seen as being higher than my own.
Our first event is on Saturday, September 16 at 9:30am. The speaker will be Justin Maness from Bee Downtown who will share his experience of service throughout his time at NC State. We'd love to see you there!