Mitch Matthews is a successful keynote speaker and best-selling author who has traveled across the United States for years to give motivational talks. But Matthews’ motivational talks at events and on college campuses aren’t standard events: they’re called BIG Dream Gatherings. On May 22, faculty, students, guests and volunteers headed to the LeRoux Conference Center in the Seattle University Student Center to see and hear what Matthews had to say about dreams and long-term goals.
Matthews explained that the BIG Dream Gathering has been in the works for over a decade now.
“The BIG Dream Gathering first happened in 2006 when I was working on one of my own dreams that had kind of fallen apart,” Matthews said.
He highlighted the gratitude he felt from his friends who helped him achieve his dreams, and emphasized how he wanted to help others in return.
“I asked for help on my own dream, but I also thought that I should ask my friends what their dreams are, so maybe I could help them out,” he said.
The event wasn’t formal by any means; listeners could sit with anyone at any table they pleased, and there wasn’t a dress code implemented. The BIG Dream Gathering drew a large crowd that filled up the entire room, made up of half visitors and half volunteers for the companies that sponsored the BIG Dream Gathering.
The crowd appeared eager and excited. Most participants had their phones out during Matthews’ speeches to film what he was saying, as well as to photograph him.
Most of the audience was enthusiastic. Attendees often chuckled loudly after each of Matthews’ jokes. They also participated in activities he and his team organized.
The BIG Dream Gathering was divided into three parts: Matthews’ keynote address, the dream sheets and to conclude, a group reflection. The “dream sheets” were the main part of the BIG Dream Gatherings. When visitors arrive, they were given dream sheets that ask them what their dreams are, and the details of those dreams.
Melissa Minato, a student career advisor and recruitment organizer in the Albers School of Business and Economics, was eager to share and discuss her dream.
“On my dream card, I wrote that I wanted to travel to a Nordic country in the next year. I gave myself a timeframe for that dream so I could hold myself accountable to achieving that dream,” she said.
Minato explained that this dream has been in the making for a while. She also elaborated on the roots of this dream.
“This is my dream because I’ve traveled to Sweden before and I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I got a nice taste of it, and I want to go back someday. Also, my mom’s heritage lies in some of the Nordic countries, so I thought maybe it’s time to go and further explore culturally.”
While Matthews was talking, participants wrote down their dreams. They could scribble down what they need to do to fulfill that dream, what they already have done to achieve that dream, or any additional details. Most participants filled out more than one dream sheet.
Two major themes present at the BIG Dream Gathering were community engagement and helping others. Participants taped their dreams up on the walls, and there was a designated period of time where people could go around and write comments on others’ dream sheets. These comments ranged from messages of encouragement to recommendations or connections that will help achieve the dream.
Besides building unity through helping each other in achieving dreams, there was a lot of community to be found in the volunteers helping at the event.
Event volunteer Tram Chung, who is also a parent of two high schoolers, felt that the BIG Dream Gathering was a great event to attend.
“This was my first time volunteering at an event like this,” Chung said.“I mean, I see people getting up and writing down comments on dreams, and it was great seeing the comments on my own dream.”
Overall, the BIG Dream Gathering at Seattle U proved to be a positive and fulfilling experience for participants and visitors alike. Through community and encouragement, participants were able to build connections and learn that it was possible to achieve their dreams while being in a positive environment.
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