TEDx coming to UConn Saturday
First ever TEDx conference held at UConn will tackle technical, global and social trends
Published: Friday, September 20, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 20, 2013 02:09
UConn will host its first TEDx event from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on campus this Saturday.
Professors, strategists, directors and students in all fields – economics, physics, English, advertising, psychology – will speak about contemporary topics affecting our future.
Speakers are divided into categories by topic, as they are expected to address technological, global and sociocultural trends. Scholars were invited from Yale, IBM, JPMorgan Chase, SeeClickFix (a web platform for citizens to communicate with their local officials about issues that are not emergencies, but need to be changed), independent advertising network Droga5 and UConn itself.
Eight university officials will speak this weekend, seven of whom are professors. Director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering at UConn, Cato Laurencin will discuss a technological advance in medicine. Of the global trend speakers, UConn Avery Point Assistant Professor Matthew McKenzie will address New England fisheries. Associate professors Susan Randolph, economics, and Nicholas E. Leadbeater, chemistry, will discuss third-world development and turning biomass into valuable chemicals respectively. Education and eLearning are the subjects of classics professor Roger Travis and psychology professor David Miller, as well as professor of medicine, psychiatry and nursing at UConn Health Center, Robert L. Trestman. Gina Barreca, professor of English will discuss women’s humor.
Among the university speakers are three UConn students: Cody Carver, 5th-semester psychology and communications major, Matt Cremins, 1st year mechanical engineering graduate student, and Ricky Angueira, 2nd year transportation engineering graduate student. Each student speaker passed a selection process over the summer, where students cast their votes online based on a 1-minute video on their topic.
“I didn’t think I would get in,” Angueira said. “But I’ve always wanted to go to a TED event.”
Angueira has an interest in the sustainability of city transportation systems. Originally from Puerto Rico, Angueira was used to a society heavy in cars. He thinks communities can make better use of their resources and wants to work toward making the systems more efficient.
“Not using a car is better for the environment,” he said. “I want people to see transportation from a different point of view.”
Carver didn’t think he would be chosen to speak either. He is taking a stand against the poor reputation of advertising.
“I don’t think it’s all bad,” he said. “It’s not a lost cause to hope for a for-profit business that is a fair player and a responsible economic force.”
Carver believes in the influence of advertisements. He acknowledges a growing public interest in socially responsible products. He hopes that companies that promote these sorts of products will allow a social conscious to grow.
Cremins wants to encourage his audience to see and tackle problems, big or small.
“People sometimes feel that they can’t say anything because it’s not their place, or don’t think they have the capabilities,” Cremins said. “You don’t need any kind of position to tackle a problem or to make a change.”
Cremins is part of a startup company that wants to improve the accessibility to clean water through the use of a purifying water station.
“I just have an undergraduate engineering degree,” he said. “I’m trying to make a change. You just need to put forth the effort, that’s the first step.”
TEDxUConn is put on a by a student group of the same name, in an effort to attract forward thinkers and bright ideas in the school community.
David Ritter, 11th-semester electrical engineering major and president of the TEDxUConn group, thinks there is potential to try to build a community of big ideas at UConn.
“This is a chance to have a real intellectual discussion, a chance where we can explore ideas,” he said, “This is how ideas are born.”
TED conferences occur twice a year, once internationally and once nationally. They strive to promote “ideas worth spreading,” in all areas.
TEDx events are independently organized TED conferences that aim to spread those same ideas within a specific community.
The TEDxUConn event will be streaming live at the Student Union Theater, which will remain open throughout the event on Saturday. It will also be streamed online at www.tedxuconn.com and on WHUS 91.7.
The group meets on Sundays at 9 p.m. in ROWE (CUE) 134.