This October, students at the University will have a chance to hear their fellow peers discuss their passions in a TED-Talk-like, Psi Upsilon (Psi U) sponsored event, “A Penny for Your Thoughts.”
Student submissions for talks will be accepted until Oct. 21, speakers will be picked on Oct. 22, and the event will be held on Oct. 29. Those interested in applying can do so through the a link on the event’s Facebook page.
Joseph Nucci ’16, Psi U brother and “Penny for Your Thoughts” creator, shared his excitement about the event.
“I am excited because I think Wesleyan students are passionate about what their interests are and these interests are as diverse as the student body,” Nucci said. “I think Wesleyan students love to hear themselves talk and, more importantly, we like to listen to what our peers have to say. Until now, we have lacked a platform or venue for students to share their ideas.”
Linsin Smith ’16, Psi U brother and co-organizer of the event, is also very enthusiastic about the new platform for student voices.
“I am very excited about this event because I think it is something that has been missing from the Wesleyan community,” Smith said. “We are all so talented and different and I can’t wait to hear from fellow students about their thoughts and experiences.”
Timothy Israel ’16, Psi U brother and member of the planning committee, shared his hopes that the event would inspire new connections.
“I see this event as a way to connect people who may not know each other, or create a deeper connection between two people who already do,” he said. “It may be a math major speaking on a theory that inspires one freshman who is considering the same path, or it may be a senior talking about their passion for cooking that allows them to connect deeper with another senior who they’ve known since freshman year, but didn’t know loved cooking too.”
Smith and Nucci also addressed how “Penny for Your Thoughts” aligns with Psi Upsilon and its values.
“One of the greatest aspects of Psi U, in my opinion, is the immense diversity we have in our chapter,” Nucci said. “It is the only place on campus that I have found that brings together different types of people. We have members from all different kinds of countries, majors, political affiliations, social classes, ethnicities, social cliques, sports teams, and of course, we are now proud to say that we have greater gender diversity.”
Nucci hopes that the aspect of diversity found within the organization will be reflected in the Psi U-sponsored event.
“This diversity means that there is no singular interest, culture, or identity in Psi U and the multiculturalism doesn’t just provide a wonderful social scene — it creates an intellectually stimulating experience when you have so many different types of people rubbing their ideas off one another,” Nucci said. “We are hoping to emulate that experience but providing campus with a platform where anyone, regardless of who they are, can speak and be heard in a supportive atmosphere.”
Smith focused discussed Psi U’s commitment to community service, an aspect kept in mind when designing this event.
“I am also excited about this event because it is by students for students and also for the greater Middletown community, as we are collecting donations for McDonough [School],” Smith said. “Community service is a big part of Psi Upsilon’s values and I think this event perfectly encapsulates service both for campus enrichment and the Middletown community.”
Nucci thinks the event will be a valuable one, as it is rare for students to come together and present to each other in this way.
“I know Wes Thinks Big is a popular event, but it is for professors,” Nucci said. “I am unsure of [the existence of] any events like this for students.”
Nucci also offered some ideas for talks he would be interested in hearing.
“I hope to hear people’s theses and senior projects,” Nucci said. “I also hope to hear more personal life experiences, similar to the ‘In the Company of Others’ event that takes place at New Student Orientation, which is always wildly successful.”
Smith discussed her hopes for speeches as well.
“I hope to hear speeches that I wouldn’t expect from people,” she said. “I can’t wait to be surprised and inspired by the amount of knowledge that my peers have.”
Smith also offered an idea for a potential “Penny for Your Thoughts” talk of her own.
“If I do speak, I will probably speak on my thesis material, which is an MB&B thesis studying the molecular mechanisms behind adjacent gene co-regulation in ribosome biogenesis genes in yeast,” Smith said. “Obviously this is very scientific and very specific which is why I am not planning on speaking at this first event.”
Israel offered an idea for a potentially more humorous speech.
“I’m not giving a speech, but if I did, it would be called ‘Good Morning Sci-Li: The Art of Napping and Staying Up Late’,” Israel said.
If students don’t have time to prepare for the first “Penny for Your Thoughts” event or don’t get chosen to present for the first round, they should not be concerned.
“We think [the event] is going to be huge and will turn into a campus tradition,” Nucci said. “This is not going to be a one-time thing. So far we have enough speakers for at least two thoughts this semester and hopefully there are more to come.”