GSS 2015

The theme of GSS 2015 was ‘Building Impact: Listen. Learn. Act.’, a reflection on the fact that stories of success are usually presented to us fully formed, when in fact many of the world’s most impactful people went through processes of extensive learning, reflection, and even great failure before arriving where they are today. We invited speakers to share their journeys, identifying challenges they faced along the way, and to offer skills to overcome these challenges. 

Importantly, the theme was also expressed in the symposium’s structure. Day 1 focused on listening, day 2 on learning, and day 3 on action, mirroring the process of building impact. 

GSS 2015 was organised by the Executive Committee 2015 and Organising Committee 2015.

Last year’s event

To find out more about last year’s event, please see the GSS 2015 Handbook or visit the following links:

GSS 2015 Schedule



Small Group Topics

Social Events


GSS 2015 featured…

GSS 2015 featured…

Unique opportunities to learn from the best and brightest in their respective fields:

GSS 2015 speakers attended GSS, not just as speakers, but as fellow participants. Speakers were invited to dinner on Friday and Saturday night and, on Friday night, delegates attended “Fireside Chats” where small groups of delegates had the chance to spend time with the Symposium’s guest speakers in a more intimate setting.

Innovative formats and delegate-driven discussion:

In addition to a host of keynote presentations and panel discussions, GSS 2015 featured a range of innovative formats, including:

Thematic Groups: Delegates self-selected into one of ten thematic areas for the duration of the conference. These thematic groups allowed delegates to network with like-minded students and to dive deeply into one of the ten GSS 2015 challenges.

Open Space: Open Space sessions gave delegates control of the conference. Participants volunteered topics in response to their experience at the conference and hosted discussions or activities with their peers. Last year, topics included, among others, “The Future of GSS” and “The Role of Science in Daring to Differ”.

Professional Development Workshops: Workshops at GSS were interactive and participants were able to choose from a range of options.

Challenging and relevant themes with opportunities to do “deep dives” into topics of interest:

“Has IT changed the way we build impact, and how?” 

“Ethical Investing: Should investments profit-maximise or should they do more?” “How might we think differently about our relationship with nature?”

These questions and more were explored over the three days at GSS. Panels offered in-depth analysis of these topics while small groups allowed delegates to tackle one issue in greater detail. For a full list of small group topics, see here.

A bustling social programme:

In a quintessentially Cambridge experience, the Saturday night of GSS featured a formal dinner at St John’s College, one of Cambridge’s oldest and most beautiful colleges. By day, delegates had exclusive access to the Cambridge Union, where all the events were held. By night, dinners were complemented with socials, both at the Cambridge Union and in the surrounding township.