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Second-Ever TEDxStLawrenceU Event Focuses on Truth

Photo Courtesy of University Communications
Written by Katie Wilson

This past Saturday, February 3, 2018, eight speakers— Gabriella Gurney ’18, Grace Wetzel ’19, Jeff Maynes, Kelly O’Connell ’08, Mougheis Umar ’20, Ndirangu Warugongo ’18, Peter Bailey ’82, and Thomas Elcock ’18 – took to the stage in Gulick Theatre as part of the second-ever TEDxSt.LawrenceU event.

The theme of the event, truth, was spoken to by these eight students, faculty members, and alumni, who shared various stories, lessons, and personal anecdotes related to the notion of truth.

TEDx events are independently organized TED events that take place worldwide. While they share their name with the well-known TED talks, which have occurred annually since 1990 and feature notable speakers like Bill Gates and Jane Goodall, TEDx events are coordinated without aid or input from the TED organization.

The idea for TEDxStLawrenceU first began in 2016, after students, faculty, and staff united behind a shared desire to host a St. Lawrence TEDx event.

A group of students formed the TEDx organization on campus in early 2016, and after undergoing a lengthy application process, the students were given the go-ahead by TED to host the first-ever TEDxStLawrenceU event.

When asked about his desire to launch the TEDx intiative on campus, Marco Li Calzi ’18, President of the TEDx organization, stated, “I had organized TEDx events prior to my arrival on St. Lawrence’s campus. Myself and the other students, faculty, and staff involved wanted to create a new dialogue for more innovative ideas. In bringing the platform to St. Lawrence, we felt that students, faculty, staff, and alumni would be able to talk about things not usually talked about.”

The first TEDx event on St. Lawrence’s campus took place in November of 2016 and featured 11 speakers.

This year’s event amassed nearly three times the number of people as the first, with tickets available online, free of charge, in the days leading up to the event. Students, faculty, alumni, community members, and family members came out to see their peers, children, and professors speak at the event, while others watched the speakers online through the free live-stream provided by the event’s curators. The speakers were chosen through an application process.

Li Calzi, Luke Howlett ’18, María Denisse Jiménez Malespín ’19, Josie Brown ’19, Jake Murphy ’18, Daria Alekseeva ’19, and Audrey Lane ’19— all members of the TEDx organization on campus—were instrumental in organizing this year’s TEDx event. In addition, funding from SLUSAF, Thelmo, and Dean Schonberg’s office also made the event possible.

When The Hill News reached out to Li Calzi and Alekseeva about the organization’s decision to structure this year’s event around the theme of truth, they both emphasized that their decision was influenced by both the current political climate and the shroud that often surrounds “truth” in the present day.

Li Calzi also mentioned his desire to see first-year and sophomore students becoming more involved in the TEDx organization, as most of the members and curators will be graduating either this year or next.

If you’re interested in becoming a curator for the next TEDxStLawrenceU event, reach out to one of the organization’s members and ask them for more information!

About the author

Katie Wilson