Photo by Sho Kitamura

On Oct. 2, President Bud Peterson gave a speech and a question and answer session during the faculty-and-student-operated program, [email protected], which aims to invite notables speakers to Tech for discussions over relevant topics related to each speaker.

[email protected] is a student initiative to create a central hub for conversations and discussions on campus. Our aim is to, number one, host events and speakers that cover a vast range of topics, exploring the challenges and issues the world faces today and, number two, unite current, or perhaps poorly attended, lecture and speaker events under one brand,” said Graham Goldberg, head of the [email protected] committee.

The event strives to hold simple conversation and open discussion with the speaker, and the [email protected] committee hoped to maintain this for Bud Peterson’s first informal talk with the student body.

“Wednesday’s event was the first time since arriving to Tech that President Peterson interacted with students in such an informal, conversational setting,” Goldberg said. “Our hope is to turn this into a yearly dialogue, where President Peterson can speak with students outside of ‘hot-button’ issues. This event is very much a conversation.”

During [email protected] events, students can ask any question that comes to mind in front of the speaker or, if they want, students can submit questions online.

“For the past couple of weeks, students have been able to submit questions via the [email protected] twitter and Facebook accounts,” Goldberg said. “They have also been able to ask questions in person on Wednesday.”

Throughout Peterson’s discussion, he talked about topics that included academic programs at Tech, his interests in Tech traditions, impressions of the student body and even how many gold ties he owns.

As the conversation continued, he also went into the qualities of students and what makes them stand out.

“Probably the number one thing that has impressed me was how smart, how worldly and how globally engaged students are,” Peterson said. “I am blown away by the student body here at Tech. In every student group that I have engaged with, I have seen the same thing. The students are incredibly well prepared, always ready to say something, tell what they want to do and every presentation they have to offer is spectacular.”

Many of the students at the event enjoyed what Peterson had to say and appreciated what he said regarding Tech’s academics and his experiences with the campus.

“I especially loved the fact that I learned about the cross program with Emory which was something I didn’t know anything about,” said Will Tamar, a junior ME major. “He answered every question well. I don’t think it could be any better honestly. He made it fun for all of us.”

While this [email protected] marks the first for the 2013 Fall semester, Goldberg says that more events like this one will be coming up in the following semester. In the past, [email protected] has introduced Bill Gates, U.S. Secretaries of Defense and a panel of notable professors, so future events should be similar.

In addition, students can make suggestions on who they would like to see in future [email protected] through their section on Tech’s website.

[email protected] has exciting speakers planned for next Spring, and will likely be collaborating with a few other student organizations this Fall for upcoming speaker-events,” Goldberg said.