Six speakers deliver inspirational, entertaining talks at first-ever TEDx event

“Intellectual activity is enhanced when people with different perspectives work, discuss, criticize, and argue face to face in frequent, unplanned, and often messy ways,” said Prof. John Commito, one of the six speakers who gave short and entertaining talks at the first-ever TEDxGettysburgCollege April 18.

View videos from the event

Colonel Stephanie Smith discussed the Montford Point Marines in World War II and their contribution to racial integration in America, and Prof. Dustin Beall Smith’s speech on Native American wisdom reminded the audience to experience the moment instead of maintaining focus on the future or past.

“The speaker’s topics were all unique, yet there was a commonality among them that related to the night’s theme of ‘Do Great Work,’” said TEDxGettysburgCollege organizer Steve Meehan ’12. “I think the event accomplished exactly what we set out to do – spread new and interesting ideas to the college community.”

Prof. Steve Gimbel proposed the idea that people love Albert Einstein because he represents the notion of intellectual cosmopolitanism; each of us has a perspective that has some access to insight. Luke Norris ’06 used examples from the movements of the New Deal to demonstrate how ordinary citizens play a great role in revolutionary changes in law and politics.

Audience members were inspired by the story Sarah Calhoun ’00 shared (video above) about how she discovered her passion through the founding of Red Ants Pants, a clothing line meant to empower women. “Step into these pants, or into whichever pants fit you the best, and whatever good work it is that you are doing, perhaps you will stand a little taller, work a little bit harder, and maybe even walk with a little more pride in your step,” Calhoun told listeners.

“I think the interactive education with no boundaries is something a lot of people enjoyed,” says Meehan. “We received a lot of feedback from students interested in organizing TEDxGettysburg College next year, so we’re hoping this will become an annual event.”

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event.

The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world’s leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED’s media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world, and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Article by Lindsay Preucil ’12

Contact: Tracey Dukert, assistant director of news content, 717.337.6521

Posted: Tue, 1 May 2012

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