The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 6, 2014

Gustavus to host first TEDx conference

Event to include numerous presenters from variety of fields

ST. PETER — The popularity of TEDx conferences has grown with the advent of video and its immersion into conference settings, which is why 30 years after they began, Gustavus Adolphus College is putting on its first one now.

Under a license granted by Technology, Engineering and Design (TED), conferences are held at various locations that combine live presenters and TED Talks, which are videos designed to spark deep conversations and connections locally. The conferences are planned and coordinated independently by the local organizations hosting the events.

Dave Newell, assistant director for community-based service and learning in Center for Servant-Leadership, said the combination of TED's brand strength and the desire to provide a platform for local research and ideas was what sparked the conference, to be held Saturday.

“We know a lot of great Gustavus alumni and people in our region are doing really powerful work. We wanted to showcase that,” Newell said.

TED is a nonprofit that aims to spread ideas through short talks (18 minutes or less). The conferences cover a range of topics, from science to global business, in more than 100 languages.

“The one thing you can't do is have a specific topic (at each conference). It highlights a myriad of expertise and people,” Newell said. “It's really about creativity and innovation as a whole.”

Newell said Gustavus was able to choose its own lineup of local speakers; they just had to agree to incorporate two Ted Talk videos, one of which will focus on bullying. In between speaker presentations and videos, the audience at the conference will be able to ask questions and engage in conversation with presenters.

Here is a bit about each presenter from a news release:

■ Anna McDevitt — a Gustavus senior studying political science. She spent a semester abroad studying social justice and development in India, and she developed a “deep passion for environmental justice and fossil fuel resistance.”

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