At the landmark age of 16, I was introduced to TED. He was dreamy, adorable and smart. Talk about a trifecta.
To my utter dismay, TED wasn’t always around. He seemed to be in a new country every day, spreading his intelligence to those who were willing to listen. Thanks to YouTube, however, I could witness TED’s brilliance in California while he was busy changing the course of mankind in London or Argentina.
Just this past Saturday, TED joined us in Davis, bringing together community members, students and professors in a feast for thought. TED talked (and no, he didn’t girl talk).
He helped a room of 100 strangers see how much change can erupt from a fleeting thought that is turned into action. He reminded us that progress doesn’t come from silence, but from vocalized ingenuity.
We believe in ideas. We believe that it only takes one great idea to revolutionize a field of study, to change the way we view ourselves in relation to our planet.
We put geniuses in thinktanks with the hope that they’ll come up with the next light bulb. We teach elementary school students how to brainstorm, believing that a sky full of brains in severe weather conditions is effective in attaining greatness.
TED is a non-profit organization devoted to ideas. Under the umbrella of “Technology, Entertainment and Design,” TED gives people the opportunity to tell the world what they’ve learned and why the rest of us should care. The people behind TED believe in ideas worth spreading. And not just the ones that come from Nobel Prize winners and Microsoft owners. With the development of TEDx, independently organized TED events, people across the world are being exposed to great ideas. TEDx gives people who don’t have $6,000 to drop on a conference ticket the chance to experience the immense learning that can come from TED. Just last month, 199 TEDx events took place in 38 countries across the world.
Thanks to some serious inspiration and motivation by a hardworking team of UCD students, Davis has joined the ranks of TEDx participants.
Cory Warshaw, a sophomore animal biology major, was the curator for this weekend’s TEDx event, and one of the brains behind this great idea.
“By creating a common platform,” Warshaw explained, “TEDx has created a global community of people connected by nothing more than their passion for spreading ideas.”
While TED does indeed stand for “Technology, Entertainment and Design,” the categories of discussion at TED events are extremely far-reaching. TEDx Davis featured professors from an array of departments, including Vikram Amar, Dean of the UCD School of Law, and Dr. Andy Jones of the English department.
Warshaw admires the diverse nature of TED, sharing that “you can find some TEDtalks that are able to do the remarkable feet of taking a complex issue and making it intelligible in 18 minutes, whereas others will take you on an amazing emotional journey and sometimes leave you in tears.
“This appreciation of the human condition, as seen through the factual lens of science and technology he shared, is what I think is so unique and so powerful about TED.”
In a world where ideas are treated like commodities, TED reminds us that original thought doesn’t just make us the big bucks corporate America. It helps us grow as learners and gives us a slice of someone else’s world.
We’ve reached a point in our lives when the pressure is on to make all the right decisions. We’re told that the only way we can make it in this mad world is by creating the next Facebook.
While I can’t say that’s a particular interest of mine, I know what that pressure feels like. Not a week goes by without someone here at school reminding me that the list of things I’ll be able to “do” with my future history degree is shorter than Frodo.
It’s easy to forget that college is a time for exploration. I greatly admire all of you undeclared majors who made the choice not to set boundaries for yourself at age 18. It makes sense. There are hundreds of resources on campus at our disposal that can be left wholly undiscovered after four years of focused-learning. Maybe you’ll find out why some people care about Oxford commas so much. Or perhaps you’ll finally understand why it’s common to drink horchata in December.
So when next year rolls around and The Aggie tells you that some fella named TED is coming to Davis, I recommend you sign up immediately. There’s nothing like devoting a day to mass knowledge absorption. In the meantime, enjoy the thousands of TED videos online, and let them remind you why we believe in ideas.
MAYA MAKKER thinks Dumbledore would give a pretty exciting TEDtalk. Send your ideas for TEDwizard to email@example.com.