This past week, with Professor Michael Scully and four of my fellow classmates, I attended the Planet Forward conference at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. We flew out of T.F. Green on Tuesday around 2 p.m. only to arrive in Baltimore 59 minutes later.
When we entered baggage claim there was a man with an electronic message on his tablet reading “Michael Scully.” Yes, we had a driver waiting for us! It took less than an hour to get to our hotel in Dupont Circle. We dropped our stuff off before walking towards the White House.
The last time I was in DC, I was 8 years old. I was so excited to be back considering my political knowledge and cultural literacy has grown since I was a child. My friend Chris, and fellow journalism major, spent last semester in DC with the Washington Internship Institute and interning at CBS, so he was ecstatic to be back. He was pointing out every street and every building explaining what it was. He was like a little kid on Christmas.
We went to dinner at a restaurant called Vapiano. It was delicious. We called it an early night and went to bed knowing the next day was going to be a big one!
Scully met us in our hotel lobby on Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. We walked over to the Jack Morton Auditorium and checked-in. The Feeding The Planet Summit began sharply at 8:30 a.m. I was already loving it because they asked us to tweet using the hashtag #FoodFWD. Yes, tweeting during a professional conference. I kind of love it.
One of the first speakers was Chris Policinski, President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, Inc (who we later ate lunch with). The question to be discussed was how we would feed 9 billion people in 2050 and beyond. We also discussed climate change, innovation, GMOs and NGOs.
Other speakers included:
-Frank Sesno, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The GWU
-Dennis Dimick, the Executive Environment Editor at National Geographic Magazine
-Amy Harmon, Pulitzer Prize winner at The New York Times
-Jeff Simmons, President of Elanco
And many more, BUT the highlight of the day was when our video was shown. Since the moment we all arrived on campus late this summer, we’ve been producing a video about oyster farming in Rhode Island. The star was Heather Kinney, a senior at Roger who works out by the learning platform with the oyster cages. The expert was Dale Leavitt, professor of marine biology, and the big-picture guy was Kyle Hess who owns his own oyster farm off of Hog Island.
AND watch it!!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Mko92AoC1E
Producing it was a lot of work. We spent hours filming b-roll, interviewing, taking photos, story-boarding, editing using Final Cut, researching and preparing. I got to practice my journalism skills and learn about a topic I normally wouldn’t find interest in.
Overall, the experience was so rewarding and fun. Working closely with my peers allowed me to learn. Professor Scully was a great mentor. Frank Sesno welcomed us to D.C. with open arms (cliche, I know). The biggest honor was representing RWU. I hope we made you proud!