TEDxGuelphU: By students, for students

Monday, November 26, 2012

  • Photos courtesy of Tyler Sloane

    Photos courtesy of Tyler Sloane

  • TEDxGuelphU Team

    TEDxGuelphU Team

  • Professor Saba Safdar talking about her work in cross-cultural psychology

    Professor Saba Safdar talking about her work in cross-cultural psychology

Written by Abigel Lemak

Student-run TEDxGuelphU held its 4th annual events last Saturday, Nov 24. Although TEDx is independently run from the famous TED (Technology Entertainment Design) talks, the volunteer-based team works hard to ensure a TED-like experience. This year’s team took on the challenge of giving the best TEDxGuelphU experience to date. 

TEDxGuelphU is an evolving and growing event,” said Brittany Burek, Primary Organizer of TEDxGuelphU 2012. “Each year we endeavour to make improvements to the way that we run our event to continue to make it an amazing experience for all involved whether they are speakers, attendees, sponsors or performers.”

TED talks have been bringing great minds together at different universities across the world addressing problems and revealing ideas that aim to benefit local as well as global communities. 

Working in that vain, TEDx is a volunteer-run organization that works to bring speakers to and from Guelph to generate a discussion on topics that interest students, staff and members of the community. 

“[W]e are a completely student-run, university-centred event,” said Burek. “[However,] we do like to bring in and involve the community as there is no TEDx city event in Guelph, but we are pretty student-focused.

Following suit with TED all of the talks will be made available online, confirming a philosophy that seeks to include everyone in the conversation. This years performers and speakers presented in Rozanski Hall in front of an audience selected based on their commitment to and reasons for wanting to attend TEDxGuelphU online. What made this years TEDx event challenging, was their goal to live-stream each talk for those who couldn’t make it to the event. 

“This year we made improvements to the technical aspect of the event so we were better able to transmit the event over live-stream to those who could not attend,” said Burek. “This also meant that we would have long-lasting, top-quality videos that can live on in cyberspace for a long time so that people can continue to engage in the "ideas worth spreading" that we focused on in our talks.”

From restaurant owners to writers, from professors to students, this years speakers provided a diverse scope of expertise to talk from. Speakers include U of G student, Emily Nickerson, a third-year Water Resources Engineer who has worked with Engineers Without Boarder, Professor of Management and Economics, Sylvan Charlebois, SETS professor, Ajay Heble and motivational speaker and slam poet Truth Is....

“[Going] back to the TED ideal of "ideas worth spreading" and tried not to limit our presenters ideas to a predetermined agenda or theme,” said Burek. “I believe that this lead to very insightful and thought provoking talks.”

TEDxGuelphU is unique in providing an event that works to engage students in “ideas worth spreading” outside of the classroom, changing the look and feel of a standard lecture hall like Rozanski 101 to an impressive stage, where fascinating discussion are generated by innovative ideas.

“We have steadily grown our reputation on campus and more and more people are latching on to this amazing event that brings the entire campus together,” said Burek. “[This year] we wanted to uphold this reputation and really spark people into a mood of thinking, evolving and doing right here in Guelph.”

For more information, you can visit www.tedxguelphu.com

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