Tonight at 6:30 p.m., Harding University is hosting their second TEDx event in the Administration Auditorium. The theme for this year is How and Why: We’re Curious.
Dr. Mike James, dean of Honors College along with Jana Rucker, vice president for university communication and enrollment, brought the first TEDx event to campus in 2017. The idea came to life from one of James’ classes in 2016, when he asked the students to present their class projects in a TED Talk-like fashion.
“The idea made me think, ‘why doesn’t Harding have this?’ because I knew of other universities who did, so I wanted to pursue TEDx Harding,” James said.
Rucker and James then looked into what licenses were required and put a committee together to brainstorm ideas for the first event. Last year’s event was a small, closed-admission event in the Reynolds Recital Hall with speakers who were chosen by the committee.
This year, the team decided to advertise the event by having a webpage for people in the community to learn about the event as well as a place for people who were interested in being a presenter to fill out a form.
“We initially had 15 to 20 people sign up saying that they were interested in presenting this year,” James said. “Our team then narrowed it down to the eight that are presenting.”
TEDx events have an overall theme the presenters base their talks on. Because of this, the team wanted to find a topic that would bring a diverse group of speakers as well as a diverse audience.
“TED is technology, education and design with desire to help spread new ideas,” James said. “So, when we were thinking of a theme, we asked ourselves, ‘why are we doing this anyway?’ and the answer is because we are curious.”
Kim Kirkman, executive director of ASI, is a committee member for the TEDx event. Kirkman said that each member brings something different to the group which is helpful in making sure all the details are figured out for the event.
“My role with ASI allows me to do event planning, so a role that I have is to do some of that for the night of the event,” Kirkman said. “My job was to plan a dinner beforehand for the speakers and other guests, and I believe that’s what makes our group special. We all have different aspects that we all take care of.”
Dr. Heath Carpenter, associate professor of English is also part of the board that works on the TEDx event. Carpenter said that he is excited for the event and what it will bring to our community.
“With the TEDx national brand, it’s exciting for our Harding and Searcy community,” Carpenter said. “It’s also important to host public conversations on a range of important topics – from self-improvement to community development and service.”
Follow this link for more information on this event.