Every year, Binghamton University invites individuals from various professions to speak at an annual TEDx event — along with a carefully selected student speaker with something new to share with the rest of campus.
As the 10th anniversary of the event rolls around, it marks the fifth year that students will have the opportunity to present a talk to their peers. There is no limitation on who can become a speaker; any undergraduate who believes they have something important or useful to share is welcome to apply on the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity page.
TEDxBinghamtonUniversity Conference Director Emma Krempa, a junior majoring in business administration, said the quality of the idea is most important to the team reviewing applications.
“It varies year to year, but we typically get between 12 to 25 applications,” Krempa said. “We are looking for a talk that is original, thought-provoking and captivating. We can always work on public speaking skills and restructure the talk to fit the TEDx-style format, but the idea worth sharing is something distinctive.”
This year’s event theme is still under wraps, but will be announced in the near future on the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts, according to Krempa.
Last year’s student speaker was Jonathan Caputo, a senior triple-majoring in psychology, philosophy and Italian. In his talk, “It’s OK To Not Love Yourself,” he challenged the idea that people should be happy with themselves without the need for others and the potential mental health impacts of such an emphasis on individualism.
Caputo wrote in an email that speaking at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity was a meaningful experience, but his topic had a lot of different concepts that the small time frame could not cover.
“Thirteen minutes might seem like a lot, but there were a lot of concepts that I wasn’t able to fully discuss because of the time frame that I was given,” Caputo said. “It is really important to focus your time on the most important ideas and not worry about missing out on smaller details.”
Prospective speakers have until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15 to submit their completed applications, after which selected candidates will be interviewed and asked to deliver a five-minute pitch of their prepared talk to the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity team. All applicants will be informed of the committee’s decision by Monday, Nov. 25, and the selected speaker will work with team members and the Speaking Center starting spring 2020 to further prepare for the March 22 talk.
Krempa said she wants students to know that becoming a speaker is not the only way to participate in the event.
“Other opportunities include a student who serves as our event host, or emcee, each year, volunteer opportunities for students to assist with tabling, ticket sales, day-of-event setup and a paid opportunity to create our event logo and additional designs,” Krempa said. “Students can also apply to be a director in order to get [Career Development Centralized Internship] credit.”
Caputo shared some advice for any students interested in becoming the speaker this year.
“[Students] should try to stay true to themselves as much as possible and to present their talk in a way that’s most comfortable for them,” Caputo said. “The [Speaking Center] will help a lot, but it is important to use them as a supplement for the talk so that you don’t lose yourself in trying to be the best speaker that you can be.”