SXSW 2016 Preview

It’s either the most wonderful time of the year, or the least wonderful time of the year, depending on which type of Austinite you are–it’s SXSW time.

Like it or not, we are mere days away from 320,000 visitors who will flood the streets and venues of our city to check out live music, preview films and learn about the newest innovative ideas at the Interactive convention. We’ve compiled a list of the things we’re most excited to see at SXSW this year:

POTUS and FLOTUS make a few appearances

This is the first time a U.S. president has stopped at SXSW and he is making it count.

On March 11th, President Obama will sit down with Evan Smith, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Texas Tribune, to discuss civic engagement in the 21st Century and to ask the audience to apply their ideas and talents to “make technology work for us – especially when it comes to tackling big challenges like increasing participation in the political process and fighting climate change.” First Lady Michelle Obama will speak on March 16th about the Let Girls Learn initiative, which aims to break barriers for the 62 million girls around the world who are not in school today.

No matter your political alliances, how many times will you have the chance to hear a president speak at SXSW?

Panel: Building a Philanthropic Fashion Empire: Do Good

Local fashion designer and philanthropist, Kendra Scott, will share her views of the importance of corporate social responsibility in a conversation with Marie Claire fashion writer, Callie O’Neill.

SXgood Hub presented by United Nations

The SXgood Hub plays host to a variety of meet-ups, networking events and talks, all centered around solutions to the world’s issues. Stop by this lounge if you want to meet with other attendees looking to change the world. The SXgood Hub will be hosted at The Palm Door on 6th Street during SXSW Interactive; check out some things we experienced at the hub last year.

Panel: Disruptive Philanthropy in the Digital World

The Director of, the company’s philanthropic arm, will speak on Google’s criteria for investing in different causes and trends she sees in the philanthropy world.

Panel: Can Companies Be Activists?

The panelists all represent companies who have taken a public stance on an issue, the effects of taking a stand on hot-button topics and why they believe it’s a good thing.

Panel: Be Bold & Take No Sh*t: Thrive as an XX in an XY World

UWATX board member and CEO of WP Engine, Heather Brunner, will take part in a discussion on gender inequality in tech fields and how Austin’s growing tech scene and abundance of female executives can serve as an example of how to approach this.

Panel: 360 Degree Approach To Philanthropy

UWATX is all about collaboration among multiple organizations to make an impact. This panel features speakers from some of the most well-known charities in the world to talk about how their community partnerships are key to their success.

Together Possible Party presented by Blue State Digital & WWF

Happy hour for a cause. Hosted by the World Wildlife Fund, this event aims to bring together “purpose-driven leaders” to network and share their ideas for a better world through collaborate work over drinks.

Future of Nonprofits Meet Up

Mingle with nonprofit changemakers from around the world.

Help Adopt Austin Shelter Dogs with the ASPCA

Take a break from crowds of thousands of people to cuddle some local pups. The dogs are all available for adoption at Austin Animal Center and Austin Humane Society; use #AdoptSXSW to get the word out to help get these animals adopted!

What else should we check out at SXSW 2016? Let us know on Twitter @uwatx!