Envisioning the Future Day

Envisioning the Future Day

March 9th, 2016

By Design Team Member, Lisa Alexander

We boarded Flight Syracuse 2040 traveling to envision the future on March 9, 2016 following a welcome to the SU Warehouse by Maarten Jacobs, Director of Near Westside Initiative of Syracuse University, and encouragement and support from our very generous sponsor, David Bottar, Director of CNY Regional Planning and Development Board.

First stop, a soft landing into an impressive panel of innovative spirits moderated by the classy Heidi Holtz! Our panel was comprised of three founders of unique social ventures as well as the Directors of the CNY Community Foundation and Catholic Charities – two supportive community based organizations. We were incentivized by the stories of their motivations for stepping forward and boarding their individual flights. Nicole Watts of Hopeprint created a neighborhood of friendship and support for refugees to prove there are good Americans. Mary Ellen Clausen of Ophelia’s Place posted an ad in a penny saver of an offer to meet on the subject of eating disorders and out of the blue over 70 people appeared and her vision soared. Troy Evans of Commonspace, seeing a need for social networking in our community, developed a solution by creating special living space to accomplish this.

For our second stop, we were dropped into the land of CenterState CEO where Kevin Schwab, the Vice President for External Affairs, informed us of future plans on the radar, which was mind awakening and brought a sense of encouragement and optimism for the future of Syracuse to our day.

Our third stop brought us out of our seats for interactive game playing under the instruction of Hassan Stephens, Founder and Executive Director of A Good Life Foundation, that revealed to us that to succeed we need to remain connected – not only within our own systems but also with those systems that surround us, the outliers that may not be as strong and as connected; for only by working as a whole and encompassing the strong and the weak – will we succeed.

The fourth stop dropped us into a world struggling to tackle the Dengue virus. Dr. Mark Polhemus, the Director of the Center for Global Health and Transitional Science at SUNY Upstate, described to us the human models currently receiving injections of the virus to achieve the goal of developing a vaccine and we were able to talk with two former test subjects (who happen to be members of our group!)

We then had a scheduled lay over during which two of our members guided us to identify and list our future ideas for future years and we placed our writings and personal mementos into luggage that is now lost to us until we meet in designated future years to find and open it.

As we touched down along the Creek Walk to land our flight outside the steps of the warehouse we were entertained by two really cool guys, Mike Heagerty and Mike Giannattasio, who shared with us their vision of “Yellow Fellow” bicycle bars transporting history seekers and party goers alike throughout the Downtown community in future years to come.

Flight Syracuse 2040 proves that there is an amazing future ahead for our city and we all have the opportunity to get on board!