“I rehearsed my Amherst Live talk while walking around my yard and picking up acorns, and I came to associate the talk’s completion with full pockets. Now, months later, I still have a grocery bag half full of acorns, the moose skull I spoke about, and the majority of the talk remains memorized. I already knew I was capable of collecting acorns. That I was capable of entertaining a big crowd with a story about a dead moose was news to me. Doing it without a script was beyond conception. I think the talk was probably like being chased over a cliff. One leaps, thinking, ‘What a bad idea this was!’ Then, one recovers from the impact and shock of plunging into the frigid river and is astonished by the fact that one is still alive and intact. In that narrative trope, a huge waterfall usually awaits the cliff diver as he smugly floats downstream. But for me, there was a pint of beer and good conversation with a really responsive audience. And the collective buzz of the cast and crew realizing a great, ambitious project had just come to satisfying fruition.” —Corwin Ericson, Fall 2013 

“Telling my story at Amherst Live ended up being a very meaningful experience for me for lots of reasons that I didn’t foresee. Oliver Broudy led me through a great process that resonated deeply for me, especially as a 20-year resident of my town. I also appreciate the work that the entire Amherst Live team did to bring this self-reflective night to our community.  I look forward to staying connected to their work in the future.” —Dan Kaplan, Winter 2014

“Telling my story at Amherst Live was a profound and soul searching experience. It was far from easy to get up in front of people I don’t know to share my thoughts, experiences, and ideas, on a difficult and deeply personal topic. The decision to do so came out of a moment of truth in which I had to decide that this was conversation worth having with the people in my community. It was an honor to share the night with such an amazing group of people, activists, teachers, and musicians. I am grateful to Amherst Live for providing this dynamic forum for discourse and idea exchange.” —Lisa Amato, Fall 2014

“Understanding the world around us is important for having a rich and fulfilled life. Our valley is fortunate in attracting people with many different experiences, but twenty-first century news media and our internet-connected social lives are no substitute for meaningful sharing between people. Amherst Live is an excellent platform for disseminating the lived experiences of the friends and neighbors we interact with right in our community. The experience from the perspective of a participant is affirming, engaging, and therapeutic. The experience from the perspective of the community is nothing less than food for the soul. I am happy and thankful for the chance to share some part of my experience for others to use.” —Trevor A. Baptiste, Fall 2014

“Public speaking is currently fifth on the list of what scares Americans the most. And I get it. But what I found through all this was that the presentation of the talk, the public speaking part, was only a small portion in the process of developing it. And the rest of that process is not scary, but rewarding and inspiring. Reflection, introspection, dialogue, discussion, cups on cups on cups with Oliver at Rao’s, and a renewed foundation in place and community are much more the outcomes of participating in Amherst Live than a 15-minute talk. The talk is a nice by-product and the presentation a mere formality at the end.” —Pete McLean, Winter 2015