Author: Shivam Shah
TEDxUCincinnati | Co-founder & Advisor TEDxLSE
With over 19,000 events (on all seven continents!), there is at least one TEDx event happening every day somewhere on the planet (see figure 1). TEDx events are independently organized. This means that community members come together to curate events for their own communities. Encapsulated within this concept lies inherent power. An independent, individual event curated by communities for communities is novel because they can leverage interesting components specific to a community. Moreover, these events come together to create the global TEDx community, taking the psychological concept of ‘gestalt’ to a new level.
One particular type of TEDx event is the University TEDx. From TEDxUTM in Malaysia to TEDxUBCO in Canada, TEDxCESUPA in Brazil to TEDxMGIMO in Russia there are University events all over the globe. University events empower students to organize conferences around a theme of their choosing. In addition, students engage in financial management, ideation searches, speaker curation, stage design, audience management, and encounter a plethora of unique challenges. The students gain these new skill sets and also have the task of creating a culture of TEDx on their campus. With teaching outside of the classroom, these events engage the mechanical engineering student with a discussion on the fluidity of space in city planning, the violinist with the advancements in astrophysics, the international relations student with a human account of emotional well-being research, the list is endless.
As interesting as these topics may be, it can prove difficult to properly engage with students across a campus of 1,000 students or 120,000 students, and each campus brings its own challenges. Having flexibility and guidance in creating these programs from TED is a fundamental strength in conquering this issue. Coupled with assistance from TED, the events enhance students’ minds about what it takes to put on such an event.
The archetypal experience from curating a university TEDx is one of magnanimous shift in perspective to understanding the necessity for the flow of ideas to communities. So whether you are familiar with TED or unfamiliar, I believe it is vital to become involved in a TEDx near you (or start one). It is an experience unlike any other in which you form a global community unlike any other, and find ideas that shape your community and ultimately, the world.