Students to bring TED-like experience to campus

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    A group of Honors Cabinet members are planning a new event that will allow university students and faculty to share their ideas with the rest of the community through a TEDx conference.

    TED provides support for making TEDx events happen on a local level. These events are an extension of the TED Talks and brings conversation to smaller communities, in this case the TCU campus.

    According to the organization's website, TED is a nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading. The TED talks range from various topics including how a fly flies, who controls the world and the art of asking.

    Kathryn Waggoner, a senior strategic communication major, said she was with friends discussing an opinion piece from The New York Times that led them to the topic of TED Talks. Waggoner said the conversation took them to the TEDx site, and she realized that TCU is one of the only universities in Texas that have not had a TEDx conference.

    Some of the universities in Texas that have the TEDx event incorporated on campus include Southern Methodist University and University of Texas at Arlington, Waggoner said.

    However, the TEDx events are independently organized, and schools have to apply for a license, Waggoner said. 

    The license is only active for one year and only permits the group to have 100 people attend the event. The group will be launching a registration system soon, and its Twitter account will provide more information, Waggoner said.

    "Never before has there been one [program] that really reaches out to students to be the speakers at the event," Waggoner said. 

    Waggoner said they emailed the Chancellor Victor Boschini to see if it would be possible to bring TEDx to TCU, and he said yes. The planning committee, primarily made up of Honors Cabinet members, decided to make this year's theme "Responsible Citizenship." 

    The theme reflects the heart of TCU, which is the mission statement, Waggoner said. 

    The university's mission statement is "To educate individuals to think and act as ethical leaders and responsible citizens in the global community."

    "We think that giving students voice in this capacity is something that's never been done before and it has a great possibility to really make an impact on our campus and be something that really creates meaningful conversation," Waggoner said.

    Pearce Edwards, a senior political science and history major, is part of the group of students planning the TEDxTCU event. He said a lot of what students do at TCU is task-centered, and this will transform what happens on campus into dialogue, inspiration, innovation and transformation.

    "TED is something that, when you look at the transformation that TCU is undergoing and you look at TCU's desire to be a world class institution of learning, that you really need to develop programs that allow students and faculty to set the agenda for the university," Edwards said. 

    The group launched a TEDxTCU online blog where students can talk about responsible citizenship and voice their ideas, Waggoner said. Five submissions from a pool of students and faculty will be chosen to have the opportunity to speak at the first TEDxTCU talk on April 17.

    Waggoner said the group has also been using Twitter and Facebook as a platform to spread the word on campus. 

    To be considered for the event in April, students and faculty can submit a 250-word reflection on responsible citizenship. The planning committee will select five contributors in March, Waggoner said.

    If interested, submit your ideas to TEDxTCU@gmail.com. You can read the submissions and visit the event at TEDxTCU.wordpress.com. For more information on TEDxTCU, follow the group on Twitter at @TEDxTCU.