Denison to hosts its own TEDx

By Jake Dennie

Special to The Denisonian

You’ve probably watched a TED video and thought “I know people who could do that.” Maybe you even think you would give a good TED talk. Well, your chance is coming up this March, when TEDx comes to Denison.

Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) is a non-profit devoted to proliferating “Ideas Worth Spreading,” famous for its national conferences full of enlightening lectures and inspiring performances, the very popular videos from which are posted online. TED has created a series of local conferences called TEDx, which the Social Entrepreneurship Club and Leadership Fellows have combined to bring to our campus.

“We hope that TEDx will become a local forum for ideas within our community—not just our Denison community but the Licking County community at large—that inspires people to change their lives, change their communities, their futures, and, ultimately, change the world,” said Stephanie Hunt-Theophilus, the advisor for Social Entrepreneurs and curator for the event. She also mentioned that the event will carry on the Spectrum Series theme of “Real Utopias.”

The planning committee is currently calling for proposals, which are due Dec. 1. Speakers can be anyone in the Denison or Licking County community: alumni, students, professors, staff, or locals. The planning committee is hoping to “allow some voices that don’t usually have a stage to speak up. We’re reaching out to staff positions (i.e. custodial, Physical plant),” explained Dylan Parson, a sophomore religion major from Slippery Rock, Pa. and member of the planning committee.

Committee members emphasized that the talks could be about anything. “There are three categories we look for: performance, research, and anecdotal. More than anything, we want people who are going to be entertaining and who have a good stage presence, but ultimately, we want things that speak to ways in which one can create a better future, [and a] better society,” said committee member Isabel Randolph, a sophomore English and economics double major from Columbus, Ohio. Whether a lecture, story, or performance, talks can be six, twelve, or eighteen minutes in length.

TEDxDenisonU will be hosted by President Adam Weinberg and will be in Herrick Hall before a live audience of 100 on March 1st. There will be a small application to decide these 100, and the event will be simulcast elsewhere on campus for anyone else who wishes to view it.

Other local communities have hosted TEDx events as well. TEDx has come to both Kenyon and Wooster, and Columbus, Ohio has one annually.

When asked about the future of the program, Theophilus said, “We’ll have to see what the response is, but [with] the goal… of changing the world, changing lives and spreading ideas worth sharing, I think it would ultimately be beneficial to our community if we do it annually.”

In the future, student members of the planning committee hope to expand: according to Parson, to have over 100 attendees, the host group must send a member of the planning committee to a national TED event, so funds will have to be secured to do so if the event is to grow in the future.

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