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Wooster to host TEDx talk in Gault Recital Hall

Sarah Carracher

Staff Writer

The College will host its first Tedx talk, “Ideas Worth Spreading,” on March 2 in Gault Recital Hall. Through TEDTalks videos and live presentations from Wooster and other communities, the event’s organizers hope to integrating new ideas into the College and local communities.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, was founded as a nonprofit conference to unite thinkers from three areas of thought. While only two large-scale TED conferences take place each year, in Long Beach, Calif. and in Edinburgh, Scotland, TEDx events are designed and planned specifically for and by local communities. The goal of a TEDx event is to “foster learning, inspiration and wonder — and to provoke conversations that matter.”

The Wooster TEDx event was organized by Christina Haupt ’14, independent of, but fostered by, TED. The event, which will be emceed by President Grant Cornwell, is centered on the concept of integrity. “TEDx [events] are independently organized events, which are meant to highlight local talents and minds,” Haupt says. She made this idea a reality, inviting multiple members of the Wooster community to speak.

The program will highlight eight speakers: Peter Abramo Director for Entrepreneurship at the College, will discuss liberal arts education and how to better prepare students for life after college; Paul Cebul of Reach Trade in Wooster, who works with farmers to source specialty grade, direct and fair trade coffee; Donald Frederico, a litigation lawyer in Boston and an alumnus and trustee to the College; Jonny Goldstein (as a virtual synthesizer) will speak about shapes in an attempt to prove that anyone can draw; Shelley Judge, professor of geology at the College, will present about sports; Matthew Mariola, visiting environmental studies professor at the College, will discuss sustainable farming; Chris Rogers, a Tufts professor, will conduct engineering-based experiments with Legos; and Thomas Van Cleef, another College alum, who has founded multiple companies focused on solar energy. Two TEDTalks videos from previous conferences will also be shown.

Emphasizing the importance of the talk being planned and organized by the community as opposed to TED, Haupt says, “Integrating the community is something the College really places a lot of value on, and this event is certainly a platform that lends itself well to building bridges and fostering new ideas. I never realized that we could be incorporating the community in such a huge way.”

After the event, guests are invited to discuss further at First Amendment, a restaurant located at 150 W. Liberty St. A father and daughter who frequently bond over their political disputes opened the restaurant to create an environment in which locals can “gather and share heated discussions about topics that [have] a big impact on the community.”

Haupt chose this location because of this distinct connection that the concept of sharing ideas and applying them to one’s community shares with TEDx. The restaurant has even partnered with Reach Trade as a coffee provider.

The talk will also have two networking breaks, allowing students to connect with the event’s speakers. Those interested in attending should fill out a survey at to receive a ticket. This is time-sensitive because only 100 people can attend the event, due to TED rules.

For those students who cannot get a ticket or won’t be able to attend, the event will be streamed live in the Lowry pit. Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided in Scheide and available to students who do not attend the event.

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