PIE Conference Brings Diverse Discourse

The student-organized Perspective Inspired Experience  (PIE) Conference will be held March 7 at 10 a.m. in Upper Marshall Hall. This conference will feature more than 20 speakers discussing each of the three parts of PIE.

Among the speakers are professors from Puget Sound, local activists, educators and directors who are all seeking to answer the tagline posed by the conference: “What frames your world?”

“Each speaker… [has] twelve minutes to speak about a passion or an experience or some ‘thing’ that really impacts the way that they see the world,” alumna Catherine Durkee, PIE Conference Coordinator, said.

This is the second PIE Conference held at Puget Sound. The previous conference was held in September of 2013. TED talks inspired the project, and the initial idea was to have TED talks on campus. However, a lack of time and money hindered the conference, leading the coordinators to develop a conference of their own.

“We wanted a big project,” senior Lee Pennebaker, PIE Conference Coordinator, said. “We spent a lot of time talking about what we were doing, and how to do it.”

From the collaboration between the coordinators, the mission statement for the conference emerged: “Breaking boundaries of personal perspective by experiencing others’ passions and unique frames of mind.”

“The conference is going to be broken up into… these three different categories: perspective, inspiration, and experience,” senior Lisa Tucker, PIE Conference Coordinator, said. “I think perspective was the thing for me… that drew me to the PIE conference.”

“Different things inspire different people, and by understanding what might inspire somebody and that sort of interaction… it broadens people’s ideas and the way that they can understand different topics,” Durkee said.

By bringing together the perspectives and interactions that come about through the conference, the resulting dialogue is designed to provide a foundation for discourse meant to broaden the views of the listeners.

“I think what separates us from… TED or other conferences is that we ask our presenters to be very tangible in their presentation. They don’t just talk about their ideas. They talk about their experience and how that has influenced their ideas,” Pennebaker said.

Related to the idea of personal experience is the idea of passion.

According to the coordinators, the opening discussions of the conference brought up the topic of passion and its use.

“In the grand scheme of things, passion is something that some of us might think is scary to use, it’s very intimidating,” Durkee said. “But I really think that the PIE Conference allows students to have that sort of forum where they can talk about passion, and it doesn’t have to be scary, and it lets people experience different things that they might not have ever been exposed to before.”