Preparation for the 10th-annual TEDxBinghamtonUniversity event is underway to “unearth” new “ideas worth spreading” for students and faculty members alike.
The TEDxBinghamtonUniversity event is structured after the original Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) talks, which share speeches based on original ideas for internet audiences and event attendees. After the TED talks gained international popularity, TEDx was created in 2009 to give smaller communities a similar opportunity to share ideas.
TEDxBinghamtonUniversity’s 2020 event is set to take place in the Osterhout Concert Theater in the Anderson Center on Sunday, March 22 and will feature a variety of short talks, performances and demonstrations ranging from comedian Abby Govindan to geophysicist Mika McKinnon.
Emma Krempa, one of the student directors for TEDxBinghamtonUniversity and a senior majoring in business administration, said the 2020 theme is “UNEARTHED” because it aims to shed light on topics and ideas that are not usually discussed or uncovered.
“At our event, no ideas will stay below the surface,” Krempa wrote in an email. “In college, we have to take a multitude of courses in one particular subject area to obtain a degree. The cool thing about events like this is that we are exposed to a diverse array of topics that may not align with our interests.”
According to Krempa, a team of four student directors and a faculty adviser and license holder work together to coordinate the event and schedule speakers. Krempa said the team also took on a graphic designer and student volunteers to increase productivity and involvement.
“Each of us has specific tasks that fall under our role,” Krempa wrote. “When TEDxBinghamtonUniversity first started out, there were several students with a passion for sharing ideas that decided to apply for a license and carry out this event. Since then, we’ve continued to grow in size and in depth.”
Last year, an undergraduate student host position was added for the first time to alleviate the workload of organizers. This year, Flynn Anderson, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, has been assigned to the task of introducing the variety of speakers.
“In short, I will be putting smiles on everyone’s face, introducing all of the major speakers and connecting with students [and] faculty at Binghamton University,” Anderson wrote in an email. “I will be shaking hands at the door and trying to bring life to the Anderson Center stage.”
Following an interview for the student speaker role, the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity team reached out and offered Anderson the host position. According to Anderson, he wants to make the most of the opportunity and leave a lasting impression.
“I really am going to push the boundaries of a host and try and humanize myself up on the stage,” Anderson wrote. “I also want everyone who goes to the event to say, ‘Hey that’s Flynn Anderson! He hosted TEDxBinghamton[University] and he was the best host ever in the history of all hosts!’”
“UNEARTHED” will introduce changes to improve the diversity of the event as well as changes to the structure. One of these changes, according to Krempa, was the creation of TEDxBinghamtonUniversity Salons, which are smaller TEDx events to help spark interest in the main event.
“One thing we focused on more heavily this year was getting a diversity of representation in our speakers in addition to diversity in topics,” Krempa wrote. “Some additional changes we made to the event include more local exhibitors, a longer intermission and a new type of performance.”
This year’s TEDxBinghamtonUniversity lineup features seven speakers and a performance by Beatbox Bing, an on-campus club dedicated to providing an environment for beatboxers to learn and grow in a supportive community.
David Mathews, a sophomore double-majoring in integrative neuroscience and philosophy, was selected to be this year’s student speaker after submitting an application and undergoing the interview process. Mathews said he wants the audience to leave with new ideas to think about and incorporate into their day-to-day life.
“Right now, the name of the game is practice, practice, practice,” Mathews wrote in an email. “I don’t want to spoil the talk for too many of my friends, so I’ve only practiced delivering the talk to a few. Simply, I hope the conference gets them thinking.”
The team of student directors and volunteers are set to table in various locations on campus such as the Marketplace, Glenn G. Bartle Library and the University Union to sell tickets. In addition, the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity team will be promoting the event at the Oakdale Mall and through various online platforms to engage a wide variety of attendees. The first 100 tickets sold on campus will be $5 each and after these tickets are sold, advanced in-person ticket prices will go up to $10 each. Tickets at the door of the event will cost $15 each.