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Breaking down Belmont's inaugural Hope Summit

President Greg Jones presents at the Hope Summit on Wednesday; Isaac Wetzel/Belmont Vision

Belmont launched its inaugural Hope Summit this week and was met with minimal student interaction with the exception of Wednesday’s fall festival.

The summit was put on with an open invitation to students, faculty and the Belmont community to attend the scheduled 13 events on campus, which centered around “helping regions thrive.”

“The theme really is around creativity and innovation in the first instance, which draws on a long tradition at Belmont of focusing around entrepreneurship and innovation,” said President Greg Jones’.

Classes were only canceled for students and professors during Wednesday’s “A Day to Dream.”

Launching Monday in the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, the Hope Summit focused on Jones’ second strategic pathway “Data-Informed Social Innovation.”

Students were invited to the early events, which included conversations with Rick Byrd, former Gov. Bill Haslam and Kim Tan, but the crowds in the Fisher Center consisted primarily of faculty and administrators.

Still, student turnout sky-rocketed during Wednesday’s fall festival on the Main Lawn.

“I know it was juggling around classes. We scheduled some things during the convocation hour on Monday,” Jones said, referring to the first panel with Tan. “And then late Monday afternoon there were a number of students who came to focus on storytelling with Rick Rekedal and Tom Douglas.”

Students enjoying festival rides on the Main Lawn; Isaac Wetzel/Belmont Vision

“I was pleased to see students, you’d always love to see more at the Monday and Tuesday events but I know there were classes and that takes priority,” he said.

Due to packed schedules, Wednesday’s convo and fall festival were the first events most students could attend during the summit.

“This was my first event. I had a busy week of school,” said freshman Brielle Croke. “I knew it was Well-Core so it was an opportunity to do that, but it was also just nice to hear what they talked about.”

The fall festival faded into a community trick or treating event outside the Curb Event Center as tables, covered in chocolate bars and lollipops, were set up.

“We were thrilled to see the turnout from the Edgehill community for trick or treating,” Jones said. “We invited members of our community, our neighbors and the broader Nashville and Middle Tennessee community to events to participate.”

The Hope Summit will return next year, Jones said.

“Having the day to dream and bringing people together for a fun day really becomes a kind of symbolic symbol for the whole campus of what it means to come together and be a community of belonging.”

This story was written by Sarah Maninger

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