The Daily Texan’s list of SXSW panels featuring Gen Z speakers

Sage Dunlap, Life & Arts Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 11, 2022 SXSW flipbook.

Gen Z currently stands as the most ethnically-diverse, best educated generation in American history, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center study. With social media and the internet at their disposal, many Gen Z leaders pursue large-scale social change, reaching the masses online. The Daily Texan compiled a list of SXSW panels featuring Gen Z speakers who will provide an inspiring glimpse into the next generation of leaders.

Not Your Boomer’s Consumers 

March 12, 10 a.m. – 11a.m., JW Marriott

Led by Gen Z entrepreneurs Amrutha Vasan, Aagya Mathur, Nadya Okamoto and Bao Phan, this panel will tackle modern advertising and the impact of personal values on consumerism. The four panelists will discuss how this awareness changes Gen Z’s approach to adopting new products and platforms and how advertisers should cater to their young-adult consumers.

Gen Z is Making Change: New Tools for Impact 

March 11, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown

Entering her junior year at Arizona State University, Anusha Natarajan will take the stage at SXSW to talk about how she developed the first racial justice task force at her honors college and helped create the nonprofit Culture Talk, which provides educational resources to help schools diversify their curriculums. Natajaran will be accompanied by three other panelists who will discuss empowering Gen Z to participate in advocacy.

Environmental Justice: A Youth Movement 

March 11, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown, Room 400 – 402

Overwhelmed by the impending effects of climate change, some young people dedicate themselves to  taking action. Sixteen-year-old Anna Heck will discuss her tech invention, which allows citizens to track the quality of their local water supply and get updates about future water supply problems. By sharing her mechanism with SXSW audiences, Heck will explain how city governments can implement infrastructure to help city dwellers interact with their natural environment. 

How are You(th) Showing up for Climate Action? 

March 17, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Hilton Austin Downtown

Four representatives from Youth Climate Lab — Joshua Amponsem, Larissa Crawford, Naia Lee and Dominique Souris — will discuss Gen Z’s responsibility to take action in the climate crisis for the sake of their own futures. Each speaker will share their own experience with climate advocacy, whether through organizing climate strikes, designing clean energy initiatives or participating from their own homes.

“Make It Up As We Go” Season 2 Panel 

March 17, 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., Austin Marriott Downtown, Moontower Hall

“Make It Up As We Go” is a scripted-musical podcast from the network Audio Up. The cast, which includes 24-year-old singer-songwriter Abby Anderson from Dallas, Texas, will speak about the podcast’s second season. While promoting the show, Anderson will share her experience emerging as a young musician in Texas.