A large and diverse group of engaged individuals from regional arts, technology, business and education communities gathered at SUNY New Paltz for the Hudson Valley Future Summit on Nov. 20.
The day-long program underscored the College’s unique ability to host inclusive dialogues promoting sustainable growth and prosperity for the region and its residents.
“We’re dedicating this day to the increasingly enriching, productive and strategic interplay between this campus and the various civic, educational, business and creative interests within the Hudson Valley,” said President Donald P. Christian. “Connecting with the region is not a new thought at SUNY New Paltz, but hearing from you through discussions like today’s will help us learn how we can play a more expansive and influential role, becoming the intellectual and cultural hub in the Hudson Valley.”
The Future Summit was structured to break guests out into six conversation teams led by community leaders, New Paltz students and faculty.
The six conversations centered on topics positioned at the intersection of business, culture, technology and society: the Arts, Economic Development through Technology, Entrepreneurship, Farms and Food, Our Natural Environs, and Preparing the Workforce of Tomorrow.
President Christian appointed Hudson Valley Future Fellows to shape the conversation in each group, guiding them through both opportunities and challenges that each subject presents.
“The success of our region, and this Summit, depend on our ability to nurture our strengths and to address our challenges,” said Kt Tobin, associate director of the Benjamin Center for Public Policy at SUNY New Paltz and as deputy mayor for the Village of New Paltz. “Woven together, our social, cultural, environmental and educational resources provide us a pathway to be regional and national leaders in a very challenging century. We can do this together. We have to; we will.”
The morning plenary at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art also featured an address from Robert R. Dyson, chairman and CEO of the Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation, who offered an important reminder of the human stakes of regional development.
“The Hudson River Valley is rich in natural resources and cultural assets that attract people from around the world,” Dyson said. “As the region reinvents itself, however, we must realize that the Hudson River Valley’s greatest asset isn’t its businesses, the river, or the mountains. The region’s greatest asset is its people. We’re all interconnected here, and we’re all involved in working in our communities for the common good.”
Artist and Ted Talk veteran Raghava KK provided a third keynote address, an engaging meditation on the roles that storytelling and art play in our lives as individuals and members of a community.
“What role do artists play in building community?” he asked. “It’s not that artists make a place more beautiful; it’s that art offers new ways of looking at the world. We are entering a creative age, and if you want to partake, make sure artists are part of your organization in every way.”
Following the morning and afternoon dialogues, guests reconvened at The Dorsky to go over conversation outcomes and enjoy a reception and networking hour, featuring a selection of locally sourced refreshments.
The 2017 Hudson Valley Future Summit was made possible by the SUNY New Paltz Foundation, with support from the following sponsors: Advance Testing, Bread Alone Bakery, Kirchoff Medical Properties, Phyn & Aero, the Woodstock Chimes Fund and Kevin Zraly’s Wine School.