TEDxSyracuse speakers talk arts, sciences and techonology in 2nd annual event

In the 2nd annual TED event, nine speakers, including two SU students, gave their presentations to a crowd at Watson Theater.

Syracuse University hosted its 2nd annual TEDxSyracuseUniversity in Watson Theatre on Fridan night. TED — short for technology, education and design — is a nonprofit organization that helps to spread critical ideas and innovative thoughts through short public speeches. The program is designed to spark conversations among individuals.

The master of ceremonies, SU student Erin Miller, introduced nine different speakers who each presented a topic addressing this year’s theme, “evolve.” The theme “evolve” centers on the speakers’ abilities to affect change through new and innovative perspectives.

"It’s another outlet to helping students craft and mold their minds to think differently."
- Imani Wallace

The topics ranged from tips on how to live a diverse lifestyle, to the psychology of selfies, to technology’s role in everyday life. The speakers consisted of CEOs, artists, consultants, professors, students and more. 

TEDxSyracuseUniversity was arranged and led by university students who had a common goal to bring together impactful speakers to help spread ideas.

“Honestly, I think it’s important to have an event like this in Syracuse because it’s another outlet to helping students craft and mold their minds to think differently,” said Imani Wallace, a junior in public relations. 

“A lot of times, students are cramped up in their academia, cramped up in their student organizations, and don’t really get a chance to experience different types of opinions or perceptions outside of their social context and ideas.”

Petra Kolber, founder of Moving to Happiness, was the first of the nine speakers to take the Watson Theatre stage. The name of her talk was, “The Perfection Detox.”

Kolber discussed her life as a perfectionist and the life experiences that helped her to combat her fears and fulfill her dreams.

“Perfectionists look to see how far they have to go, and optimists look at how far they have come,” Kolber said.

She shared how her fears of failure caused her to turn down opportunities to work for popular shows like The View and The Today Show. Kolber’s speech, like many others, hit home for several Syracuse University students.

“The first one was something that I related with because in the past I used to have that feeling of trying to be perfect in my high school years and in similar circumstances like that of the speaker,” said Lana Martinez, a history of arts senior.

“I’ve learned that you can’t be like that all the time. The speaker said the most important thing you can do is enjoy the moment. I think that’s something a lot of people forget and I’m glad that she reminded the audience.”

The speakers addressed concepts related to art, literature, technology, and science.

Derek Grassman, CEO of Kohilo Wind, gave a speech called, “How Wind Energy Saved My Life.” A passionate member of the clean energy movement, Grassman explained how obstacles he has faced helped him to produce a wind turbine.

Mechanical engineering sophomore Bobby Cagliero acclaimed the technical concepts in Grassman’s presentation.

“Generally, I’m not into the artsy parts of everything and I liked how there were speeches that engaged in different subject matters,” Cagliero said.

The different topics focused on the experiences of the speakers and not necessarily on their industries. International relations junior Monica Caverera said she could relate to the more technical speeches like Grassman.

“It’s not necessarily that story itself, but just the fact that so much of his struggle bred innovation and possibilities,” Caverera said.  

TED gives an opportunity for individuals to share ideas to a global audience through different digital platforms. The TEDxSyracuseUniversity team hopes to produce another event under this TED platform next year.

This year's speakers

Bill Jensen: Futurist and management consultant
Speech: “Are You Future Strong?”

Charisse L’Pree: Assistant professor of communications at SU
Speech: “Psychology of Selfies”

Derek Grassman: CEO of Kohilo Wind
Speech: “How Wind Energy Saved My Life”

Petra Kobler: Founder of Moving to Happiness
Speech: “The Perfection Detox”

Domingo Zapata: Painter
Speech: “The Healing Powers of Art"

Douglas Melville: Chief diversity officer for TBWA Worldwide 
Speech: "Improve your Diversity IQ"

Sean Kirst: Columnist at The Post-Standard/Syracuse Media Group
Speech: “At the Lighthouse: Why I Tell Stories”

Hailey Temple: Senior at Syracuse University
Speech: “The Power of Technology”

Ronald Taylor: Senior at Syracuse University
Speech: “To Be Judged”

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