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TEDx talks return to Wooster with student speakers

Brandon Bell

Contributing Writer

This year’s TEDx event at Wooster will take place in Scheide Music Center on Saturday, Nov. 8, focusing on the theme of pushing boundaries and limits.

TEDx, a local version of TED talks, came to Wooster’s campus three years ago through the efforts of Christina Haupt ’13. The first event was limited to 100 participants due to TED’s licensing requirements.

This year’s coordinators, Bailey Connor ’15 and Noah Megregian ’16, are hoping to expand TEDx by reaching out to more students.

“We are learning how to raise their awareness,” Connor said. “We do want as many students as possible to come.”

Both Connor and Megregian stated that they felt that the TEDx format gave them an opportunity to engage with ideas that other lecture formats on campus may be unable to. The structure, 18-minute talks with breaks in-between, is intended to keep the audience engaged with the discussion.

“We want to make it an event that students recognize and want to go to,” Megregian said. “[TED’s] purpose is to make you think. We try to facilitate that contact between ideas and people. [Students] actually get to interact with them.”

“Most students are familiar with the brand,” Connor said. “People might view [other] events as targeted to specific people or interests. TED is not limited.”

The event features a diverse array of speakers, including alumni and members of the community. It also includes two students, William Turner ’15 and Maddy Baker ’16, who will speak on the topic of the relationship between the living and minimum wage.

“It’s a great opportunity,” Turner said about his upcoming speech. “I was extremely flattered when they asked us [to speak].”

The talk started as a project in Dr. Bostdorff’s Political Rhetoric course. It has since evolved into an ongoing campus dialogue, bringing a national issue to the local level.

“We are entering the workforce eventually, so this really matters,” Baker said.

When asked how TEDx would spread their message, Turner felt that it would be more successful than other types of talks.

“It expands it to more media,” he said, referring to the streaming broadcast of the event. “TED talks are cool, hip. People are really into it.”

When asked what it means to the group to have student presenters, both coordinators felt it was a great outlet for student voices.

“We view this event as a community-oriented event,” Connor said. “If they have a good idea to share, especially in regards to the theme, why not let them take the stage?”

In the future, they emphasized that they wanted TEDx to be a regular event at the College. After Megregian took over following Haupt’s graduation, they feared what would happen to TEDx after they graduated if students lost interest. His answer to this issue is to seek volunteers, which he and Connor are currently doing. In his mind, connections to the student body are vital.

“We may not have been introduced to [a] speaker, but someone in the student body [may have been],” he said and added, “The best way to improve anything is through feedback.”

The event begins with a reception at 9:30 a.m. and continues until 12:30 p.m. in the Gault Recital Hall of Scheide Music Center. The talks will also be streamed in Lowry Lounge.

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