Last year, a classmate and I organized the first ever TEDxUniversityofTulsa. TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, seeks to spread powerful new ideas through moving, interdisciplinary talks. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.
In my first year as an organizer, I had the benefit of not knowing just how arduous a task I was taking on. However, planning this event for the second time gave me the opportunity to improve it and build a great team. This year’s event was aimed at sparking discussion and connection around our theme, “Truth and Dare.” We chose this theme because truth often requires us to be daring, and daring often leads us to new truths. Our speakers and performers shared their truths and challenged attendees with their dares.
This year my co-organizer, Sam Beckmann, a sophomore computer science major, and I worked to make this event a campus tradition. We chartered the organization through TU’s Student Association and put out a call to campus for team members. We got fellow students to help with everything from film to stage management to budgeting to graphic design. TEDxUniversityofTulsa is completely student run and dependent on the skills of the students on our campus. Similarly, our speakers and performers are all University of Tulsa students and faculty, which allows us to showcase the incredible ideas and talents of our community. We had speakers on topics ranging from energy and sustainability to history and museums to psychology and professional development. We had two musicians perform, one folk singer/songwriter and one indescribable remix of a popular song, as well as a spoken word artist.
In the interest of keeping this event going each year, each organizer plans the event for just two years and trains the next leader, so sadly this was my last year in charge of this incredible event. It is bittersweet to realize I am passing this event on and entrusting it to someone new, but I know that it is in good hands with Sam and his next co-organizer. I can’t wait to see what this grows into as it changes and improves each year.
This is something special. Our campus will continue to be defined and inspired by events like this – events that are planned and executed by students for students, driven by innovative ideas and aimed at changing perspectives.