With a rise in the use of the internet for education, professors readily use online platforms such as TED Talks to get their point across to students. At Salisbury University, students are taking this learning platform to the next level by holding their very own TEDx event here on campus.
The event, which all started with one ambitious SU student and an idea, is now set in stone to take place on May 2, with ticket sales beginning in April.
The whole basis of the event is to give SU students the opportunity to get their ideas heard on a much larger scale than a simple presentation. With TED Talk being the popular online platform that it is, these ideas will go beyond the university walls with the possibility of going viral.
SU junior Anna Brennan was that ambitious student, and her aspirations are the stepping stones that made this event a reality. After being an avid TED Talk watcher, inspired by the various talks, whether they be dismal, uplifting or just downright eye-opening, Brennan was hooked.
“This all started last May, so, I’ve watched TED Talks for a very long time, and I feel like everybody has,” Brennan said. “I always thought it was really interesting and very easy to understand and relatable.”
Following a TED event that was happening in Brennan’s county, her interest in the idea grew more so into a goal.
After some research, she realized the process was simpler than she thought it would be.
After applying to the TEDx Program on a whim one summer night at 2 a.m., Brennan was pleasantly surprised when she received word back that her application had been approved for a TEDx license.
The license gives Brennan the authority to coordinate and hold a TEDx event within the year of receival. Brennan has high hopes for the event and is excited to give younger generations like herself and her peers a chance to speak out and be heard.
“Optimism and creative ideas and creative thinking that hasn’t been destroyed by real life yet — so we’re still very optimistic and everything,” Brennan said. “So, I feel like our ideas are really worth spreading, and it’s just about getting them to the person that can make those ideas happen.”
The planning of the event is not something that Brennan plans to take lightly. In attempt to make TEDx at SU the best it can be, she put together a committee of students from various disciplines to help in brainstorming ideas, coordinating the basics and helping with the application process.
With students from the College of Health and Human Services, Henson, Fulton and Perdue, along with the help of chemistry professor Dr. Anthony Rojas, Brennan hopes to gain a broad span of perspectives and ideas for the event.
The committee decided on a multi-step application process in which students must first fill out an online application detailing and outline of their idea. The next step includes an interview with one of the committee members in which students are expected to go more into depth on their idea. The final step includes giving a more formal presentation to the committee.
With six available spots for speakers, the TEDx team hopes to get at least three student speakers, but they are open to having more.
Although the application process is in-depth and the slots for speakers are low, Brennan encourages any student with an idea to apply because she feels that all ideas are valid and worth sharing.
“I’ve always really felt like students don’t really have an equal voice to older people,” Brennan said. “I feel like our ideas are kind of taken with a grain of salt, but I feel like if people listened to us on that larger platform, that they could get more out of it.”
SU senior and member of the TEDx Committee Harrison Leon expressed a high level of excitement in the buildup and opportunities that this event will provide students.
“I guess it goes into my own philosophy. I just like the democratization of ideas. I like having everyone have a voice,” Leon said. “And so [TEDx] is a mechanism that allows people to share their voice and highlight ideas that are worth spreading.”
Beyond providing students with a larger platform to share their ideas, Leon also placed emphasis on the element that there will be public speaking training available for the chosen applicants leading up to the event. Leon hopes that with the training available, students will be more confident in applying.
In addition to the training, Leon is simply excited about the possible reach that these ideas could have.
“Just because 200 people might attend the event that day does not mean that 200 million couldn’t see your video,” Leon said. “I think that’s pretty cool.”
The team is not looking for anything specific in choosing their speakers, only that their speech pertains to the university experience.
Leon highlighted the reasoning behind choosing this broad subject area, all coming down to the idea that it is relatable.
“The university experience is something that we all share,” Leon said. “It’s practically universal to the entire audience; everybody there is going to be affected by the university in some capacity.”
The application deadline for student speakers is March 6. Students interested in sharing their ideas on this worldwide platform can fill out an application here.
Members of the TEDx Club hope to not only hold a successful event this year, but to also begin a legacy that allows students at SU to continue the event for years to come.
If you are interested in joining the TEDx Club, meetings are held Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Brennan at firstname.lastname@example.org
By CAROLINE STREETT
Gull Life editor
Featured graphic by Caroline Streett Images.