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TEDx Comes to Warren Wilson

by Zoe Sarvis, staff writer

TED Talks started in the city of Monterey, California in 1990 with their annual conference and their slogan was “ideas worth spreading.” And spread is what it did. What started as annual conference held in one place every year turned into a global experience where TED Talks were being held everywhere.

On December 11, TedX comes to Warren Wilson College, where a class of students will give their presentations in Canon Lounge to be filmed and put up on the TedX website.

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. In 2009, TED started giving out licenses to third parties so that they could organize events that were similar to TED Talks, but they could do it independently. TEDx events are filmed and placed on their TEDx website section.

“What we are doing is much more suited to Warren Wilson in that it’s going to be in Canon Lounge and the presenters are going to get up and talk about an idea that they have and there is community engagement where folks will have an opportunity to have conversation with each other about some of the ideas, if not all of the ideas,” said creative writing professor Janet Hurley, who has organized the event for her Introduction to Writing for the Media class.

“The definition of media is a delivery system for a message,” said Hurley, “so while people tend to think of media as technology, in this case the media is the student’s brain, body, and mouth.”

Hurley’s class is presenting topics that range from De-Mystifying the Cuban Revolution, to Rethinking the Way We Poop.

Students in the class are both eager and nervous about the upcoming TEDx event.

“The fact that’s it’s going to be posted on the TEDx website is kind of scary,” said sophomore Nadia Marti, a student in Hurley’s class.

The event has been advertised on Facebook and on flyers and while some students are intimidated by the talks, others are more eager to be a part of the presentation.

“I’m mostly excited,” said junior Leo Proechel-Bensman, also a student in Hurley’s class. “I’ve actually never heard of TED Talks until this project, and I think TED is really cool because I think people have really great ideas and TED provides a medium for those ideas to be spread among people.”

Proechel-Bensman will be presenting his project on rethinking how people poop.

“In America and most Western countries we poop in positions that are not good for health,” said Bensman. “I was trying to think of something a little bit different and interesting, and I think it’s something that a lot of people have heard about but actually don’t know about.”

The students have composed their speeches, and have been working with Maryedith Burrell, a professional presentation coach who has come to the class multiple times to work with the students on how they present themselves, and also how to make them comfortable.

Outside of the classroom students are working on their speeches on their own to get them memorized and ready.

“I actually video taped myself so I can work on facial expressions and such so that I can be really prepared the day of,” said Marti.

Having TEDx Talks on campus is a huge deal, and future TEDx events are already being discussed.

“I think that it would be cool if TEDx Talks were annual, but I think it would be better if it weren’t in a class, rather it be something more voluntary from students on campus who are interested,” said Proechel-Bensman.

According to Hurley, Warren Wilson is an appropriate venue for TEDx Talks.

“I think Warren Wilson is one of those really unique places where people really enjoy talking back and forth about ideas and how they might make a difference,” she said. “That’s what I like about Wilson students, because they are really engaged in that idea.”

The TEDx event will be held in the Canon Lounge Wednesday December 11 at 6:30 p.m. Intermission will be at 8:00 p.m. where snacks will be provided. 


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