Ideas from different academic disciplines will join forces to tackle major global problems during the inaugural Stir Symposium at the Ohio State University, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 7-9.

Ideas from different academic disciplines will join forces to tackle major global problems during the inaugural Stir Symposium at the Ohio State University, Friday-Sunday, Oct. 7-9.

“We know that there are a lot of complex issues facing everybody,” said Beth Benzenberg, an OSU graduate student who helped organize the event. “The issues are getting more and more complex, so we think that you need a really wide range of disciplines to approach them.”

Rather than host a conference of keynote speakers, the six students behind the event wanted an interactive weekend where people can add their opinions and work collaboratively with others doing the same.

English majors will work alongside engineers. Artists will crunch numbers. Students and professors will collaborate. Small, diverse groups will pool resources. Everybody wins.

Registration costs $100 for students or $300 for professionals.

“We realize we can’t solve these problems in a weekend,” co-organizer Allen Cochran said. “Our goal is to create approaches to eventually come up with solutions to these problems.”

On Friday evening, organizers will introduce topics meant to spark conversation in one of five main areas: learning, conserving, moving, eating and living. The short position papers will be presented Pecha Kucha-style at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Topics will include driverless vehicles, urban farming and the need for negative growth in conservation. Each participant will choose one to tackle.

On Saturday at the Ohio Union, each small group will discuss a particular idea with an expert in the field, then detail its progress for a presentation to be given to the entire conference on Sunday.

“These get-together discussion conferences are somewhat coming into fashion,” Cochran added. “We are trying to be more productive through ours, so that there’s an actual output that people can reflect on.”

Photo by Alysia Burton