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Innovative Discussion Series TEDx Comes To Southeast Missouri State University

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU
TEDx co-organizers Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs and Collin Ritter

TEDx, the highly praised and innovative discussion series is making its next stop at Southeast Missouri State University next month. KRCU's Marissanne Lewis-Thompson spoke with TEDx SEMO co-organizers Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs and Collin Ritter about bringing the barrier breaking series to the community.

Lewis-Thompson: So for those who don't know what is TEDx?

Hildebrand Clubbs: Well TEDx is an independently organized TED event. We always put the "x" in there to signify that it's independently organized, because there's really only one TED and TED conference. But to have a TED like experience all throughout the United States all throughout the world, TED will authorize different organizations different colleges and groups to have TEDx events.

Lewis-Thompson: Tell me a little bit about how this came to be Collin?

Ritter: Well, it was pretty simple actually. I just, I had been watching the TED Talks on the TED website, and saw that they offered independent sort of events. And I looked through the list and I saw that there are community events and university events, and I thought well you know we could try to put on a university event here at Southeast. And I knew that Brooke was very passionate about TED as well, so I literally went up to her after a class and said hey TED allows you to get access to their material to do a conference at the university would you like to do it? And she said yes immediately. And then that kind of put the wheels into motion. And then we began the application process.

Lewis-Thompson: Well TEDx, just the TED series in general it's a thought provoking and a very innovative space where people can get together and discuss their ideas. And it's very fitting for this time at SEMO, because right now they're trying to become more of a progressive university. You know recently they created the diversity task force in relation to the protests that happened in Ferguson and then moving forward into Mizzou. And you all are bringing in four different types of speakers. Can you just tell me a little bit about why that's beneficial at this time at this university?

Hildebrand Clubbs: Well, I would say when Collin and I originally started talking about this you know the reason I said yes was because he was so passionate about it. And I didn't even really I have to admit have an idea of what exactly we were getting ourselves into at that point. And then once the process started and I found out how many people were interested and excited about the TED concept, you're supposed to come up with a theme for your event and we had said well we want it to be about things people are passionate about. We want people people to find their passion, and then as we saw all of these different people that were interested from all of these different types of disciplines we added the "diverse passions." Because we feel like you can learn so much when you listen to people who have different experiences than you do. Who look at life through different lenses than you do that that's just such a great opportunity, and so that was why we sort of we came up with that theme. And our speakers that we selected are all instructors here at the university. And so, they're all going to be bringing their unique perspectives to this concept.

Lewis-Thompson: Your take Collin.

Ritter: First and foremost, you know the whole idea of passions. I've always been really passionate about good storytelling. And anyone who's ever known me understands my obsession for Walt Disney, and my passion for everything that he brought to the entertainment industry and his passion for great storytelling. And I think that's aside from the very thought provoking nature of TED I think that's what they kind of surround. They really promote this really detailed storytelling idea, and that's why I was so passionate about TED because I wanted to be apart of that. It's one thing to watch something, but to be apart of that sort of takes it to the next level. And I felt that passions is something everyone can really relate to. Everyone is or should be passionate about something, and I felt that it would be good for a university setting, because there are a lot of students at this in their life they don't really know what they're going to do with their lives. And I feel like this topic could sort of inspire students to find that passion and find that path and lead them on the path to a career move or deciding what they want to do with the rest of their life. And you know the diversity aspect, not only is it extremely relevant this day and age, but it's all surrounding. So we're not focusing on just one group of passions, it's really going to encompass everyone's passions and all the different types of passions people can have.

Lewis-Thompson: So with that being said, what can people expect when they get there besides just a lot of talking.


Ritter: More talking.

Hildebrand Clubbs: Yeah. This is going to be sort of a unique experience. You can't just say that it's one thing. [Be]cause it's gonna have elements of a social hour. You know there's going to be hors d'oeuvres. And there's going to be ice tea and coffee and punch and you know so it's gonna have that kind of aspect to it. It's gonna be a little bit of a networking event, because we'll be putting people at tables with folks they don't know and it will be an opportunity for folks in the community to sit with students and to get to know some people that way. It's going to be a listening party, because in addition to the speakers that we have from the university we'll be also showing two TED Talks. So, they'll be seeing two videos and we have breaks in between, so that people can talk at their tables. There'll be discussion group leaders. So, we've got this element of a social gathering with you know snacks and drinks. And then we've got this element of networking. We've got this element of a listening party, of a discussion group. Sometimes since we've got instructors it might even seem like you're at a lecture, but it's going to have sort of a certain feel to it that we hope is not just like a lecture that's not just like being at a banquet. It's going to have sort of a relaxed vibe.

Lewis-Thompson: And this is happening on March 3?

Both: Yes.

Lewis-Thompson: At the [Wehking] Alumni Center, correct?

Ritter: That's correct.

Lewis-Thompson: And I know seating is limited. Are the tickets still available?

Ritter: They are gone.

Lewis-Thompson: Oh my goodness.

Ritter: We are sold out completely.

Hildebrand Clubbs: Yeah. Our community is entirely sold out and we have 50 student tickets. We have that as a lottery.

Lewis-Thompson: Well we're all looking forward to seeing the TEDx event, and hoping to hear some amazing things from the speakers. I want to thank you all for coming. Thank you so much Brooke and Collin for talking to me about this event, and just the power of conversation and diversity within this community. So thank you all very much.

Ritter: Thank you.

Hildebrand Clubbs: Thank you Marissanne.

If you missed your chance to get tickets don’t worry. A livestreamed showing of TEDx will also be held at the University Center for students, faculty and staff on March 3, 2016.

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