TEDx Comes to AU for the Third Year

Originally published online by the Eagle in February 2016.

Eleven members of the AU community will speak about their innovative ideas and experiences at the University’s third annual TEDx event on Saturday, Feb. 27.

TEDx talks are independently organized TED events that aim to bring groups of speakers who share ideas worth spreading, according to the organization’s website. AU’s upcoming daylong series of talks will feature five AU students, two professors and four alumni, all of whom will relate their talks to this year’s theme, “Transform.” The event will also include two musical performances, the first from Treble in Paradise and the second from a soloist who has not yet been confirmed.

“Transform” was chosen to be the theme during a brainstorming session between all of the event’s organizers, according to Ryan Anderson, TEDxAU’s executive producer and a 2014 graduate of SIS and SPA.

“We look at what speakers can easily relate to and work with, and what hasn’t necessarily been done by the TED and TEDx community before,” she said. “You want to be original in some form.”

She added that speakers were chosen through an application process, and they were selected based on how their application fit this year’s theme. Of all the lecturers, Anderson said she is particularly excited to hear alumna Nicole Nason’s talk, which will focus on how martial arts can be used for women’s empowerment.

However, Anderson said the event is not solely about the speakers, and event-goers should come prepared for a day full of conversation, including small group discussions and opportunities to interact with the speakers.

“The whole point of TED is to bring people together and to get them talking about all of these ideas,” she said. “SPA and Kogod are sponsoring an interactive break that is designed to get attendees to talk to each other. You’re not just going to sit there for a day and listen to these people, we want you to engage with them.”

The day will be split into three parts: “transforming ourselves,” “transforming our dreams,” and “transforming the future,” Anderson said. Talks will be grouped according to those subthemes, and speakers will be available after the event for further engagement. After two successful years of TEDxAU events, Anderson said she is excited about the organization’s future at AU.

“Every year we get bigger, and every year we get more people interested, and every year we get phenomenal speakers, and I’d love to see it continue in that way,” she said. “The more the community is engaging, the more we’re doing our jobs right.”

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday in the Katzen Recital Hall. It is open to the general public, but AU students can go onlineto reserve tickets at a discounted price and to view complete biographies of all 11 speakers.

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