Exploring through various topics rooted in different points in time, TEDxConcordia hopes to leave audience members with an energetic curiosity and joy. This unique experience has been creatively dreamt up and effectively planned out by Concordia’s own students.
Josie Perhus and Skyler Stoner, co-presidents of the planning committee for TEDxConcordia, along with Lauren Richardson, Andrew Johnson, and Emma Zosel, members of the planning committee, have been setting things in order for the past few months to create the TEDx event on campus. The theme for this year is Time Machine: Connecting the past, present, and future to build a legacy. The focus of this year’s event is sure to revolutionize thinking about a variety of subjects, just as it did last year.
“We chose the theme Time Machine because the concept of time intrigued us and we liked that within time we could focus on the different aspects of the past, present, and future. We also like that time can be connected to any topic,” said Stoner in an email.
The event incorporates speakers who have experience in a diversity of disciplines who’ve all prepared presentations purposed to provoke thought and motivate action. This year, it will take place in Barry Auditorium April 6 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 dollars for students and $50 dollars for adults.
TEDxConcordia began last April with the theme Pivot: Transformative moments that challenge the familiar and inspire action. Students who’d been inspired by the TEDx- Fargo events had decided that it was time to bring the mission of spreading ideas to Concordia and were thrilled with how well the event was received by the Concordia community.
“We saw the event was so successful last year and the first year of an event is always the rough year and then it just gets better and better,” Perhus said. “So we thought, well, we’ll keep going and let’s do it again.”
Over the course of these two years, the event has grown in its ingenuity because of the passion each student has for fulfilling the goals of TEDx.
“The main thing TED tries to do is to uncover ideas and to give them a stage to do that, but then another thing we really want to incorporate in that is that you have this great idea or you share this idea and then now what? We really want action,” Perhus said.
According to Stoner, the purpose of bringing TEDx to Concordia was to not only share the expansive knowledge within the community by offering a place where people could ask questions and become engaged in a diversity of subjects, but to build off the event’s mission and present opportunities for members of Concordia College’s community to take action.
However, involvement and action aren’t the only positive effects of the TEDx event. Jeffrey Knight, assistant professor, graphic design director and TEDx planning committee advisor, talked about the experience that each audience member has during their time at TEDx Concordia.
“[The goal is] to make sure that people leave with a positive feeling, a feeling of proactive engagement with the community,” Knight said. “[We’re] hoping that they leave feeling a little bit of joy and unexpected delight. You go into it thinking ‘it’s just a talk,’ but then you leave feeling, ‘Wow, I didn’t anticipate this.’”
The TEDxConcordia event is unlike any other “conference” style event. It melds learning and passion together in order to inspire people interested in all fields of knowledge. Everyone can take part and discover something new while attending the event.
“For example, we have some people who are more focused on speaking about science and then we have some more about the arts or about professionalism and jobs,” Perhus said. “We’re hoping that by announcing who’s speaking we’ll attract students from every different department within the college.”
The speaker announcements began March 13 via Facebook and will continue to be made as the event draws closer and closer.
In addition to all this, and possibly the most inspiring part of TEDxConcordia, is that all these ideas have sprung up from the Fargo-Moorhead community. Sharing an appreciation for the talent and knowledge that lies right here in Moorhead is a huge part of the TEDx mission.
“It’s making sure that it’s promoting the community and showing people things that maybe they haven’t seen or experienced so that it expands not only our local businesses and our local organizations, but making sure that people in the community recognize who they are and who the players and the people are behind this,” Knight said. “To prove that there are really amazing people here. There are people right here who are doing really great things.”
Although the planning committee contributes a lot to ensure that audience members take away something unexpected and valuable from the TEDx event, they themselves have received priceless experiences from their work.
“TEDx has taught me teamwork skills, time management skills, problem solving skills and much more,” said Lauren Richardson, a member of the planning committee, in an email.
The work involved in planning TEDxConcordia has pushed these five students out of their comfort zones and into exciting opportunities they may have never been presented with were it not for their commitment to this event. Moreover, it’s allowed them to gain great- er confidence in their own strengths and weaknesses and kindled lasting relationships among every team member.
“TED encourages creativity,” Stoner said. “We’ve all become really close … It helps you feel really connected to Concordia.”
This sentiment isn’t only shared by the students in the planning committee. Knight also said that his involvement in TEDxConcordia has rewarded him greatly.
“I’m really encouraged to see that they [the planning committee and students] appreciate what TEDx has to offer. And to not only appreciate it, but to go to the extent of volunteering their time and their ability to this same cause,” Knight said.
All those involved in TEDxConcordia are excited to share what they’ve been tirelessly planning and organizing in this year’s event so that Concordia’s community can share in the passion-filled learning experience TEDx provides.
“It’s not a boring lecture,” Knight stated to encourage campus members to attend.
Concordia’s TEDx planning committee have invested great amounts of time and energy to fulfill their goal that every member of this year’s audience will be able to come in, learn something new, become engaged with the community, and hopefully, leave joyfully inspired by the ideas that’ve been spread on Concordia’s campus.