Student organization TEDxOhioStateUniversity is its sixth annual TEDx event, which is set to take place March 25 from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Ohio Union. This year the conference is titled “Precipice.”
TEDx events are meant to have the same feel as the parent organization’s conferences, but are self-organized, according to the TED website. TEDxOhioStateUniversity works to feature OSU students, staff, faculty and alumni.
The official lineup will be announced on Feb 13, but Brandon Muschlitz, TEDxOhioStateUniversity curator and a fourth-year in marketing, told The Lantern about one of the speakers he is excited about, a professor who studies autism in children.
“He’s developed a method of using Shakespeare as a means of getting autistic kids to open up and to interact with each other,” Muschlitz said. “There’s lots of barriers to communication with autistic kids and adults, so some don’t like to have physical touch, some don’t like verbal communication, some don’t like proximity. So finding a medium to communicate with all of them equally is really powerful.”
The conference will feature 12 presenters, including the professor. Nine will give lectures, and three will be doing performances with music and dancing. This will be the first year the event takes place in the Ohio Union.
Liv Birdsall, director of communications with TEDxOhioStateUniversity and a third-year in English, said she hopes this change will give the audience a different takeaway from past events.
“We’re really trying to incorporate a different kind of feel; something more inclusive, something where people can break out and really have discussions about the talks they’re seeing,” Birdsall said.
The preparations for “Precipice” began last April, right after the 2016 event, “Reconstructing Reality.”
“At the end of last year, we sat down and were brainstorming words,” Muschlitz said. “We were stuck on ‘precipice’ because it’s a very visual word. It makes you think about what’s on the other side of the precipice. What are you on the precipice of? What if our event is the precipice?”
Speakers are selected after applying and interviewing for a slot, although their talks are worked on and changed, with help from TEDxOhioStateUniversity members, in between the time of selection and the event.
“Some people come to their interview with a talk already prepared, and if we select them the first thing we do is start from scratch,” Muschlitz said. “We have to parse down to the root of what they want to talk about, and then develop it from there. We try not to have our speakers prepare anything before we start the coaching process.”
The motto of TED is “ideas worth spreading.” Muschlitz said he hoped the audience can leave “Precipice” more aware of viewpoints that other people might have.
“I think that a lot of times we find ourselves in a bubble where we surround ourselves with types of information and news stories that affirm what we’re already thinking,” Muschlitz said. “And so the purpose of our event is to not just feed what you’re already passionate about. It’s to expand your mind and being OK, being uncomfortable with people that have different viewpoints than you … just because they have a different viewpoint, doesn’t make them less of a person, it just makes them different.”