Northwestern prides itself on supplying unique opportunities for students to grow and excel in ways that may seem foreign to them. Ngage and NED Talk events represent two opportunities for students to partake in this growth process through relevant discussion. The goal of these events is for “students to engage ideas deeply and grow in their ability to know, trust and love God,” said Julie Elliott, vice president for student life. This year, NW is taking a new turn on their NED Talk and Ngage series. The NED Talk series will dive into our God-given purpose, while the Ngage events will explore topics about friends and family.
These themes hold a lot of power and many lessons for students to learn from. Also, they were not selected randomly. Before students have a chance to grow and sprout new ideas, an important planning process takes place first. Throughout the year, the student life office takes note of what ideas or concerns students seem to be talking about around campus. Based on those ideas, Elliott proposes around ten theme options to the student body. In the spring, students vote on which theme they would prefer for the following year. “Once the theme has been established for the year, I think about monthly topics that fit with the theme. Mark DeYounge and I often meet and see if we can collaborate on outside speakers for chapel, NED Talk and Ngage” Elliott said. Elliott also mentioned that much work goes into diversifying perspective and experience amongst the speakers at these events.
For Ngage events to be successful, student involvement is key. SLIDO is an app used for students to be able to ask speakers their burning questions, providing a unique way to connect the audience with the speakers. Using this app, students can comment and ask questions about the conversation in live time. Julie Elliott then uses some of the submitted questions as she facilitates the discussion. Student audience members are given the opportunity to engage in the conversation and influence the direction of the discussion.
Recently, an Ngage event focusing on unlikely friendships despite differences in political affiliation, age and ethnicity, snatched the enjoyment of many. This was the first Ngage of the year, part of the fall series on relationships with family and friends. In the same week, a new NED Talk series got rolling as well. The NED Talk series will dive into our God-given purpose.
There will be many more Ngage and NED Talk events coming up this year. These are great opportunities to strengthen yourself and better your perspective. Extreme care goes into producing these events, so it would not hurt to attend future meetings. Who knows, you may walk away with a new outlook on friendships, faith and God.