Plans For Upcoming Organized Campus TEDx Talk Underway

Outreach and Community Engagement Coordinator Kandace Keeney held a meeting to discuss the upcoming TEDx event that is scheduled to take place March 12, 2016.

Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are to be speakers and volunteers for the event.

At least 30 potential volunteers attended the meeting in McAlister Hall and were exposed to a more in-depth knowledge of TED and its purpose.

TED is an organization that promotes “ideas worth spreading” as the organization states at the beginning of its talks, in which intellectuals talk about broad subjects  and upload the event online for free to the public. TEDx is a smaller version of TED organized for communities, individuals and organizations on smaller scales. The “x” in TEDx stands for “independently organized events.”

Keeney saw the opportunity of bringing a TEDx event to the university and spent the next two years accomplishing it.

“I jumped through about a thousand fiery hoops,” Keeney said. “It’s one of the most difficult application processes I’ve ever completed.”

She said hosting TEDx will place the university on a global platform and will showcase the best-of-the-best of UCA. This opportunity will allow students to participate by volunteering in event management, production site, graphic and stage design, catering, recruiting sponsorships and fundraising.

Photographers and journalist videographers are encouraged to participate because TED prefers its speakers to be interviewed by those who are willing to work with the speakers.

Director of Programs and Services Shaneil Ealy is excited that students will be able to get experience and exposure to an event on a global scale.

“Understanding what we can do with the university’s resources is probably my biggest role,” Ealy said. “Trying to find the line and make sure, between TED and UCA, that we make a very cohesive event can be difficult.”

Currently there are no sponsors for the event, so UCA is providing funding until sponsors are found. Since paying for speakers is prohibited, the major costs for the event include production and logistics. However, the event’s strong reliance on volunteers will minimize costs.

Those interested in speaking at the event will have to endure an application process where speaking coaches will assist them so they will create a more TED-like presentation. Since the curation committee is not fully formed yet, there are no specific dates when applicants can apply.

In the meantime, potential speakers can form topics that include multidisciplinary ideas that are prominent in Arkansas, which is a topic the committee is looking to promote.

TEDx talks should provide an interesting view on a broad subject. Speakers are prohibited to promote any commercial agenda, are required to avoid pseudoscience and cannot speak about inflammatory religious or political views. More rules can be found at

Tickets for the event are not on sale yet, but TEDx is limited to no more than 100 attendees.

No location for the event has been found, but undecided details should be configured next week.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 9, 2015 print edition of The Echo. 

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