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Solving The Global Water Crisis in 7 Minutes | Hamza Farrukh

Forbes 30under30 Entrepreneur, Hamza Farrukh, and his team at Bondh E Shams (The Solar Water Project) have developed a cost-effective and transportable solution for the global water crisis. Their innovation, the OASIS BOX (Off-Grid Aqua Solar Integration System) provides 25 years of safe water to 2,000 people in just $10,000. Each liter of water is 3,000 times less expensive than bottled water and is delivered free of cost to vulnerable communities.


(Dis)comfort of Community: An intersection of art & activism | Kristen van Ginhoven

The more Kristen van Ginhoven works at the intersection of arts and activism, the more she recognizes how being part of the white, cisgender, able-bodied, middle class, heterosexual community is a privilege in which she can no longer afford to be comfortable. If we truly want to be change-makers and contribute to a community of empathy, equity and belonging, we must learn how to tolerate our discomfort.


Why Many Black Children aren’t reading | Ty Allan Jackson

It’s easy for black children growing up in America to name their favorite athlete, pop star and actor but what about their favorite author? All children grow up aspiring to be like the person they idolize, but if children do not see themselves reflected in literature how can they make that connection? Could the secret to getting children to read more often exist in the world of celebrity and pop culture?


Finding Community in Conflict | Catherine Storing

Conflict is her best friend. Catherine Storing shares how through conflict she learned how to have better relationships with her loved ones and to actually grow her communities. In her talk, she shared the seven-key and practical principles we can all use to learn to not only get along with others but to actually thrive in diverse communities.


Amplifying our Stomping Grounds: the dysFUNKcommunity | dysFUNKcrew

dysFUNKcrew is a group of young professionals who received our undergrad degrees from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. They first met when dancing together in the college's dance company. We come from diverse backgrounds and places but came together to create our own. In higher education there is a term called "dual socialization." College students coming from diverse backgrounds must assimilate to the new college culture, while trying to keep and maintain their own. dysFUNKcrew is similar. We are bringing our culture to the Berkshires through dance and in turn helping build our new community.


Feeding & Healing The Community Through A Regenerative Giving Garden | Craig Floyd

Farmer Craig Floyd manages an exemplary community "Giving Garden" for the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic, Connecticut, connecting people to nature through working in the soil and the food they eat. Utilizing regenerative gardening practices, Floyd and his team of volunteers have grown and donated enough nutrient dense produce to provide over 93,000 community meals to the food insecure in their region since 2014.


Think Like A Region | Lisa Donovan

Rural areas share similar challenges that can overshadow opportunities found in local contexts. Lisa Donovan, PhD, discusses her research: Leveraging change: Increasing access to arts education in rural areas exploring promising practices and sharing how she and her team are taking advantage of the cultural assets found in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts to enhance the public school academic curriculum. This engaging talk explores how the unique assets of rural areas can be activated by “thinking like a region.”


Songs Shared Are Bridges Built | Mark Stewart

How have titles like "musician" and "artist" created societal divides, while music and song can so easily create community? Mark Stewart digs in deep to the core of human bond making and bridge building and finds the innate connective tissue of society that comes forth through the instantaneous creation of communities of song and sound. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, song leader, composer and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music.

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