EDITORIAL: TEDxRutgers is valuable to students
Organization allows people to learn for learning’s sake
The organization known as TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a nonprofit devoted to ideas worth spreading. Twice a year, the organization holds TED Conferences, where they invite some of the world’s most profound thinkers and creators. As a subset of the overarching organization, there are TEDx programs, including one here at Rutgers, which too aims to promote ideas worth spreading in more of a local and self-organized community setting. On Oct. 15, held their annual "Speechcraft" event, where 10 students gave talks about their own ideas and experiences. The top 2 out of the 10 will move on to the larger Rutgers TED Conference in February. But, TEDxRutgers and organizations like it more generally can be extremely valuable for young people and students.
A main reason TEDxRutgers is valuable for students is the mere fact that it encourages public speaking of all kinds. Public speaking is no doubt nerve wracking for many people, but it is nonetheless an important thing to be comfortable with. Students are bound for the workforce soon enough, and when that time comes it is likely that they will at some point have to speak in front of a group of people — whether that group is their coworkers, bosses, a public crowd or anything in between. TEDxRutgers annually schedules an “Open Mic Night!” event, where students can participate and tell their story, talk about something they find interesting or perform a skill of theirs.
TEDxRutgers also embodies one of the most important aspects of an academic institution. Spreading influential and creative ideas is something that universities are seemingly meant to do, and TEDx promotes the spread of ideas on a high and accessible level. Being that Rutgers is a major research institution, there is no shortage of interesting content to present to students and faculty.
Often times when a university club invites a public figure to give a talk, the room is simply filled with like-minded individuals who are already on board with whatever the speaker is planning to say. But being that the subjects of the talks to be given are not necessarily disclosed before the event, it is likely that when one attends a TEDx talk, they will not be in an echochamber, but a room filled with open-minded individuals willing to learn and deliberate.
There is something special about the spoken word as opposed to writing that has the ability to effectively inspire emotion in individuals, especially when those words are coming from a fellow student. When it comes down to it, TED and all of its sub organizations encourage learning for the sake of learning, which is commendable no matter how one looks at it. It gives people access to new ideas and things to think about, and in some cases maybe more empathy and understanding with regard to the lives of others after their stories are told. In terms of university organizations, TEDx is as valuable as it gets.
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