Behind the scenes
The TedxBrandeisUniversity planning team is preparing for its annual event.
On April 4, Brandeis will present its third TEDx event at the Shapiro Campus Center Theater. According to TEDxBrandeisUniversity’s website, “A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.” The content of all the TED talks will be different and independent of one another and will provide fresh perspectives on various topics. In an effort to expand on different ways of thinking, this year’s theme is “past perspectives, future minds.” This year’s speakers include Abeer Pamuk M.A.’22, Ben Greene ’21, Nakul Srinivas ’21, Shaquan McDowell ’18 and R Matthews ’19.
Though most of the audience will only see the two-hour presentation on stage, the event has taken months to plan. Reika Oshima ’21, an organizer for the event, spoke to the Justice about the planning process. “We have a great team of 13 people working on it — social media director, artistic director, outreach coordinators, secretary, treasurer, two speaker coaches, me and my co-president, Vincent Dong ’20. Everyone in our team is really passionate about TEDx and sharing ideas of the Brandeis community, especially excited that we have so many speakers this year who are undergraduates and recent graduates,” Oshima said.
Oshima told the Justice how the team pinpointed the theme “past perspectives, future minds.” First, they decided to use a video application to select the candidate speakers. Each prospective speaker sent the team a one-minute long video about their ideas and aspirations for the event. Oshima was delighted to find out that so many undergraduates had applied to participate. In particular she felt “all our speakers point out perspectives that are old or that are very common. Our speakers, however, take those perspectives and turn it on their heads. We feel that these speakers represent the future way of thinking, a new way to view the world and ourselves.” She also explained to the Justice that “the most important part of the preparation is working with the speakers. We meet with them, in individual and group meetings...almost every week since January. Individual meetings are to work on script writing, rehearsing, and giving public speaking advice. We feel it’s extremely important for the speakers to hear each other’s ideas and to inspire one another, and build a smaller sense of community within our speakers.”
TEDxBrandeisUniversity was first held on April 22, 2017. It was originally designed as a three-hour presentation, consisting of three Brandeis faculty members: Professor Andy Molinsky of the International Business School, Professor Chandler Rosenberger of the department of International and Global Studies And Florence Graves, resident scholar at the Brandeis Women’s Studies Research Center. One year later, the event took place again in 2018 on April 21, titled “Illuminations Within.” Among the speakers were two Brandeis students, Ethan Saal ’19 and Sierra Dakin Kuiper M.A. ’18 and two Brandeis alumni, Ryan Collins Ph.D. ’16 and Joel Burt-Miller ’16. Storyteller Naya Stevens and entrepreneur Ami Kassar also spoke.
“TEDxBrandeisUniversity has grown so much, and we hope to continue growing and giving more and more students a platform to share their ideas worth sharing,” Oshima concluded, hoping the event will be successful.
—Editor’s Note: Nakul Srivinas ’21 is a Justice staff writer.