Students Instrumental to ‘Festive Convergence’ of Ideas

April 8, 2015

Making good things happen pretty much sums up the driving force behind a three-day festival sponsored by the City of Staunton, the Augusta County Office of Economic Development and Tourism, and several local development organizations. And a group of Mary Baldwin University students will be working hard to make sure good things happen at the event.innovate live large logo

Junior Betsey Suchanic is leading the Mary Baldwin intern effort to provide major support for Innovate Live, scheduled for April 24–26 at The American Hotel. The “festive convergence” — as organizers call it — will bring together entrepreneurs and others with ideas and inspiration to discuss ways to support creative start-ups within the Staunton community. There will be an emphasis on local food, local finance, arts, and culture — all in a social, festive setting, Suchanic said.

“A lot of work has gone into this, a lot of mindfulness,” Suchanic said of the event. “It will be awesome so see how it takes off, to see really productive discussions.”

Attendees and speakers will discuss implementation of ideas into start-ups and eventually into successful endeavors. In addition to planned talks, there will be time set aside for an “open air” discussion, where participants are free to bring their own ideas, at any stage, for consideration.

Betsey Suchanic
Betsey Suchanic

Eleven Mary Baldwin students, representing a host of different disciplines, from art history to international affairs, have been working since the beginning of semester to assist with the successful execution of the event. Recommended by faculty and staff, the students were broken into teams: social media, logistics and event planning, and organizing a public art project. They’ll earn one May Term credit for their participation.

Suchanic’s experience at the Sullivan Foundation retreat last fall boosted her confidence and helped prepare her to lead her peers in the Innovate Live experience.

“It has all sort of built on each other,” said the marketing communication and studio art double major. “Faculty members are letting me know about these opportunities and [each opportunity] is giving me skills like organizing and communicating with other people.”

Suchanic said she hopes to one day go into non-profit management, using talent she’s honed at Mary Baldwin to “make good things happen and have a powerful impact.”

Registration is required to attend; visit the Innovate Live website to register or to find more information.