When Christian Ryan thinks about the upcoming IdeaFestival Bowling Green, she gets excited.
"I love it because it's all about sharing and celebrating big ideas. I like how it's about creativity and innovations. The topics are fun and interesting," she said. "I went to the Bowling Green IdeaFestival last year. All of the speakers were really interesting."
This year, the Franklin woman will be one of those speakers. As the Western Kentucky University sustainability coordinator for eight years, she will discuss "Big Ideas in Sustainability."
"I help make sure WKU is mindful of our environmental and social impact in the way we teach and the way we operate in things like energy conservation, sourcing more local food for the dining hall and waste reduction," she said.
IFBG will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday at WKU's Downing Student Union, which is on the Avenue of Champions. Registration starts at 8 a.m. Admission is $10 for students and $20 general admission and includes lunch. Free parking will be available in Parking Structure Two between E.A. Diddle Arena and Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The keynote speakers will be from The Rise Group, who will discuss "Unlocking Your Inner Entrepreneur."
Josh Raymer, Innovate Kentucky executive administrator, said this is the third year the event has been held in Bowling Green. Louisville has had its own IdeaFest for a few years.
"It started out as an event we were doing as a grant we received. Part of the stipulation is to host a series," Raymer said. "Louisville had a prestigious speaker series. I had gone to do that for a few years. We thought, 'Why not host our own idea festival?' "
IFBG's first two years were geared toward adults. There were 385 people who attended the first year and 250 people the next year. This year, however, students are being targeted, Raymer said.
"We realized through a focus groups that college and high school students were the best audience for the event. We have 20 schools that will attend and 495 students," he said. "The numbers have proved we made the right decision."
That doesn't mean adults won't be welcomed, Raymer said. Adults will push the number of people attending to more than 500.
"We told the speakers in no way should you bring your content down. It will be a challenge to high schoolers and adults alike. I think it will apply to any age group," he said. "You should come away with applications for your life. Hopefully the stuff we have planned in the exhibit area will appeal to adults."
In addition to interactive exhibits, there will be six presentations throughout the day as well as 10- to 15-minute flash classes.
"We're absolutely thrilled with the speakers we have this year. It'll be very interdisciplinary," Raymer said. "It covers all the disciplines – entrepreneurship, arts, sustainability, education, maker movement."
Raymer hopes IFBG makes Bowling Green a hot spot for ideas.
"We want this to be a place where people want to live and work. We want to bring in new businesses," he said. "That's why we think students are a great audience. They're on the cusp of making these decisions."
Ryan looks forward to sharing her knowledge.
"I love that it's on WKU's campus and I hope that means a lot of students will attend," she said.
— For more information go to http://innovateky.com/ideafestivalbg/.