5th Annual January Symposium “On Leading a Life of Meaning and Purpose”
Over the course of three days, our fifth annual January Symposium offered an introspective and engaging break from J-term. The symposium’s theme, “On Leading a Life of Meaning and Purpose” captured every thought from the keynote interviews, the discussion topics, and the workshop goals. With an effective combination of listening and doing, the symposium gave Middlebury a glimpse into a meaning and purpose in our lives.
Two guest speakers, Charles MacCormack and Cheryl Dorsey, shared their values and thoughts as did Laurie Patton who interviewed them during both evening sessions. The basic question was, “what inspired you to do what?” Images of the proverbial lightbulb flickered each night, as the speakers explained what emotions and passions brought them to pioneer a change-making enterprise.
To complement the lectures, two workshops allowed audience members a shot at hands-on thinking about what motivates them and how they can act. Both workshops felt like a preview of MIDDCORE; participants engaged in activities that sought to open their minds to the injustices they see, and to envision what they might do about them. The first workshop was geared towards finding a problem of personal meaning and the second sought to discover an initiative one could take to improve the Middlebury community. The overall theme: anything’s possible.
The last day was a potpourri of speakers and panelists, exploring change-making tactics from mindfulness to teaching. Students and faculty shared their experiences with social entrepreneurship and what they hope to see in the future. Overall, the symposium was a great opportunity for students to reflect on themselves and discover what wonderful things they could do in the future.
For materials regarding past January Symposiums, please see our Archives here.