Friday, February 1, 2013

Thoughts (and Feels) on #TEDxUTSC

I hope you’re feeling good UTSC. We’re finishing up week four, and by now we’re already deep into our readings, learning new things every day that make us realize over and over how freakin’ cool it is to study at all. It can feel…cozy.

Tomorrow, starting at 9:30 am, you can tune into TEDxUTSC and catch some more cozy edufeels (you know, like the feels you got the first time you watched Planet Earth?), coming straight from the minds within our school.
I talked to the secretary of TEDxUTSC, Raza Sheharyar. He as well as two other students, Samantha Chiu and Karen Young, went last February to get permission from the school to put on the event. I asked Raza what TEDxUTSC was, what was involved in putting the event on, and what excited him about it. He said that there’s three parts to TEDxUTSC:
So there’s TED; Technology, Entertainment, Design is what it stands for. Anybody that’s seen TED Talks,, would know what it’s about.The 'x' part indicates it’s independently organized. So TED gives you their brand, they give you their logo, they give you a lot of instructions, a lot of resources, but you are by and large responsible for making the whole thing happen. So getting the funding and everything. And UTSC…the fact that it’s happening at UTSC.
TED is an organization founded in 1984 devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Since then they’ve expanded from their original mandate of technology, entertainment, and design, into many other things, trying to change the world with TED prizes, Ted Fellowships, Talks, TEDx programs, and more. 

To me, TED (and TEDxUTSC specifically) champions the wealth and brevity of meaningful information available to us because of the internet today. It’s no surprise then that most of the marketing so far has been mostly done online, Indeed, even some of the speakers, like Yusef Dualeh, student/comedian, attribute it to their participation in it. He told me yesterday, “I heard about TEDxUTSC funnily enough, through the TEDxUTSC twitter page. I was tweeted, simply, ‘You should do a talk about your positive outlook’ or something like that. I ended up landing an interview, and then an audition. Now I'm giving the talk of my life in two days and I'm over the moon.”

One of the most intriguing things about this talk is that it’s not just focussed on professors and faculty. Raza said:
This is student organized but at this point we have a lot of support from the school, like A LOT. DSL, SCSU, principal’s office, vice-principal’s office. Like we’re getting funding and other kinds of assistance from other places. We’re not working with any particular student groups specifically, but certainly a lot of students are involved, by making nominations, or just attending or volunteers. At this point it’s pretty campus wide.
It’s messages like this that really make me feel powerful as a student, realizing that if you have a great idea, people will get behind it. It’s important to work for and share these ideas that you really believe in, even if you're not sure they'll work, because chances are, there’ll be a whole ton of other people who will want to help to make it happen.

For example, Yusef told me, “It’s always been a dream of mine to do a TED Talk. I thought I'd get to do something like this by the time I hit age 40 or so. The fact TEDxUTSC has speakers young and old is a testament to how ideas are ageless.”

It’s kind of like, when your prof tells you not to be afraid to raise your hand to ask a question, because chances are, other students have the same question. Sometimes they don’t even realize this question is in them until they hear it.

Check out the TEDxUTSC schedule, posted below, and see if anything piques your interest, set an alarm and pop in whenever you feel like learning something amazing. As Raza said, the whole thing is exciting, “because even if you look through that speaker’s list there’s going to be one or two people that just pop out to you that interest you. Someone you’re dying to see. Like for me it’s Dr. de Sousa. I really want to see him speak. Everyone has their own speaker.”
BTW from what I understand there will be a twitter feed open for live streamers to participate in, it will be monitored (to what extent I’m not sure), for questions too. So be sure to hashtag #TEDxUTSC.

See you on the 'Net UTSC. B-)

1 comment:

  1. I'm still confused on what TED UTSC is -_-


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