Concordia’s first independently organized TEDxConcordiaCollege event will take place April 7 and will challenge students to think about the familiar in unfamiliar ways with the theme PIVOT.
Justin Odney, the lead organizer of the event, was inspired to initiate TEDxConcordiaCollege after attending TED conferences in Fargo and Minneapolis this summer.
“A lot of students have said, ‘I love TED talks,’ but many don’t know about the other stuff that goes on at a convention,” Odney said. “There’s so much opportunity for networking. It is such an awesome experience.”
At the beginning of the school year Odney brought together a group of seven students from various activities on campus to serve as the planning committee.
Heather Loy and Nathan Ascheman serve as speaker curators. Nate Winge is the financial manager of the event. Sydni Kreps and Josie Perhus are the event managers. Bri Lee serves as the design manager for the event.
Loy, a senior at Concordia says that her and Ascheman’s job is to directly reach out to potential speakers and advise them about the theme for this year’s event.
“We’re brainstorming how we can focus the topics of speakers on the actual topic [PIVOT],” Loy said.
The entire committee focused on finding a theme and speaker topics that students can relate to.
Students, staff and faculty of Concordia were all welcome to apply to be speakers for the event. The application closed Jan 4. Now the committee will review the many applications and make selections by the end of January.
“The speakers will talk about moments in their lives when they have had to pivot,” Odney said. “Just by picking your major doesn’t have to necessarily bind you to a particular career set.”
The official definition of the theme PIVOT is listed on the team’s Facebook page, “transformative moments that challenge the familiar and inspire action.”
Beyond the seven student committee members there are two faculty members working as advisors. Susan Geib is a marketing professor in the Offutt School of Business and K. Brewer Doran is serving her first year as the dean of the business school.
Doran said that Odney approached her about the event at the beginning of the fall semester. She was excited for the opportunity to showcase an event that will help students to discover and pursue their own passions.
Doran said she has been involved as the “Chief cheerleader” for the student committee which has met every week since the beginning of the year.
“The student steering committee is doing an excellent job,” Doran said in an email interview.
Odney explains that a group of students made an effort to bring TEDx to Concordia in previous years, but were not able to follow through with the process.
After the committee applied for and obtained a TED license at the end of November, they formed a student organization. Odney said the committee wanted to form the organization to create a more lasting impact on campus and to get more students involved.
Volunteer opportunities at the upcoming event will be available to all students. Information will be sent out in a campus-wide email in the upcoming weeks.
“It typically takes two months to hear a response, but it only took us a week and a half,” Odney said. “It just shows that they’re [National TED] just as excited as us to have us host the event.”
The event will be held in the Offutt School of Business after classes on Thursday; Doran said all students and community members are welcome to come.
“Our students have such energy, confidence, and engagement,” Doran said. “It will be a showcase for the great minds in the Concordia community across a wide variety of disciplines, far beyond just business.”
Tickets will be $50 for adults and $25 for students and will include hors d’oeuvres.
The TED team is in the process of finding ways to stream the event on campus for those not in attendance.
Kallie Eberling is a sports editor with the Concordian. She edits weekly articles from various sports reporters. She also works as a contributing reporter.