The thing I love about the University of Tulsa is that I, as a student, have the power to have an impact on my campus. Last semester I decided that I wanted to bring a TEDx event to campus. I saw a need for this program, because there are so many brilliant students and professors at TU working on projects and ideas that could change the world. But these ideas needed the right platform to be shared.
TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, seeks to spread powerful new ideas through concise, interdisciplinary talks. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis. This event was aimed at sparking deep discussion and connection around the theme “Innomagine”—the intersection of innovation and imagination.
I teamed up with my friend Hannah, who had a similar interest in the TEDx program, and we spent the year planning and organizing the first ever TEDxUniversityofTulsa. We started by sending out a notice to campus, asking students and faculty to nominate their friends or professors that have ideas worth sharing. We interviewed all of these nominees and selected eleven speakers. These speakers gave talks on a wide range of topics – from advocacy, to disability, to outer space. They shared original research and provided brand new perspectives on old questions. We also chose student performers: two spoken-word artists and a bluegrass group. One of the best parts of being an organizer is getting to help these talented individuals share their message and inspire others.
I study advertising and public relations at TU, and Hannah is a marketing major. In planning this event, we both learned skills that we could never get from the classroom. We were solely responsible for finding sponsorship and creating budgets. We had to contact vendors for food and printing. We set up meeting and rehearsals to figure out the venue and technology requirements. We had to manage speakers, performers, and volunteers. These are practical skill-building and leadership opportunities that will help us tremendously in our future careers, and make our resumes look pretty awesome in the meantime.
Planning this event was one of the most challenging projects I have taken on in my college career, and one of the most rewarding. Our long-term goal is to make TEDxUniversityofTulsa an annual tradition on TU’s campus. There are so many more ideas to be shared, especially since we get so many new talented students with each freshman class. We hope this event will continue to grow and spark discussion and collaboration within our campus community.
All the 2015 speakers and performers are posted here, and the videos of their talks are also available at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsRNoUx8w3rMtR-FjDo43rHoTDbosekrL.