By: Aisling Healy
“Opening minds and inspiring ideas”, is the main focus for Doug Coleman, organizer of TEDx Jacksonville. On October 3, 2015, Florida State College at Jacksonville hosted their very own TED event, called TEDxFSCJ. It was a free event open to the public who had pre-registered, including any FSCJ students or faculty staff members that were interested in attending from 10 A.M. to 3 P.M.
For many of those who have no idea what a TED talk is, it is nonprofit organization that is solely focused on ideas worth spreading. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. There are many TED talk conventions held all around the world that include speakers from everywhere and anywhere to come and share with the audience, their very own view on a certain topic, idea or technological invention. TED speakers can be anyone that is exceptionally interested in their own story or idea and wishes to make an impact on the world by spreading the word about it. Speakers have ranged from scientists, to agriculturists, to professors, and even so college students.
TEDx is a more localized program that brings their own community together to share a somewhat similar TED-like experience. The x stands for independently organized event. TEDx events have expanded all over the globe. From America to Brazil to Saudi Arabia and so on. Somehow Jacksonville is lucky enough to have their very own TEDxJacksonville. Doug Coleman says, “Students don’t know about TEDx, we’re continuously reaching into more areas that aren’t involved”.
Coleman says that TEDx has only been around for about five years, and it now has evolved globally and there has been about 15,000 events. Coleman has attended two TED conferences and says, “They are an inspiring group of people, motivated to do something with their lives”. There are TEDx events held in correctional facilities and in the slums of Nigeria. Coleman expanded about the dangers and courageousness that some people have encountered in order to hold a TEDx event in their country or village. “TEDx is shining a light in some of the darkest regions in the planet,” Coleman informs. “The impact is remarkable.” The goal is to spread more awareness about TED and the idea behind it and to open people’s minds, and eventually it will be more likely to have heard about TED and to have attended an event, than not.
How did TEDxFSCJ come about? Dr. Jose Lepervanche is one to thank for that. Lepervanche is a professor at FSCJ and the organizer for the TEDxFSCJ event. This was the second time FSCJ has hosted a TEDx event, this most recent one titled, “Brave New World”. Lepervanche explains how FSCJ also has a TEDx club. The club members are the ones that
get to choose what kind of topics or ideas will be discussed and get to search through the TED talk videos and speakers and choose what will most likely fit in with FSCJ. Lepervanche says, “We want it to be a student driven operation.” “All I do is just see the applications,” jokes Lepervanche. He says that the big difference between TEDxFSCJ and TEDxJacksonville is that FSCJ focuses more on education. “That way we can keep it an academic event,” says Lepervanche.
“I consider TEDxFSCJ to be an excellent means of promoting the college’s mission of community engagement”, says Paul Hendrickson, the curator for TEDxFSCJ and also a professor. Hendrickson also speaks about another event that TEDxFSCJ hosts that are called, salons. He calls them special because they are smaller, and more adaptable to changing or addressing issues or problems.
As far as a student’s point of view, John Newbern, a student enrolled in the Bachelors program at FSCJ, had a lot to say about this past TEDxFSCJ event that he attended. “In today’s multimedia integrated classrooms, TED talks have become one of my favorite platforms in which professors use to enhance their lessons”. Newbern said he would be surprised as a college student, if he was to learn of another student that hadn’t been instructed to view a TED talk in a class at some point. “Thinking up until recently, TED talk events were only available to political figures, CEOs, authors, and other gifted minded individuals by invitation only, I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to be a part of TEDxFSCJ”.
Newbern talked about how the atmosphere was the absolute embodiment of what TEDx stands for. He says, “The audience fostered a positive environment promoting open mindedness, inquisition, exploration, the sharing of ideas, and while all under the nurturing philosophy to gain knowledge”. “If you ever have the opportunity to attend a TEDx event, do it, you will not be disappointed in your experience”.
We’d also like to mention the amazing job of the set designer for this years event Jay Deen. Hours of labor and many people made this event possible and we personally thank the staff and everyone involved in the event.