TEDx returns to OU, open to the public


Oakland University is holding it’s second TEDx event on October 23rd, 2015. It will feature more than a dozen speakers discussing a wide range of topics.

Many college students may know TED through the various thought-provoking videos that appear in their social media feeds.

The corporation TED (technology, entertainment, design) promotes the presentation of solutions to problems. TED has moved from nationwide, large-scale talks, to conferences held at numerous universities emphasizing local talent and innovators.

These conferences, known as TedX, can be held at any university so long as there are willing and able volunteers who fill out a license and attend training by the TED corporation.  

Professor Laura Dinsmoor and Special Instructor Amy Rutledge applied for a TedX license back in 2013, bringing the conference to Oakland in 2014. This will be its second year at the university, and it promises to be bigger and better than before.

This year’s conference will be open to the general public as opposed to the conference last year, which was limited to only 100 tickets. After receiving great interest from the surrounding community, Dinsmoor and Rutledge received special training in order to remove the ticket restriction. The instructors allowed the conference to be open to the public, bringing it to a much larger scale.

Last year’s conference caught the attention of Oakland County, who has partnered with the university to help with the promotion of TedX at Oakland.

Irene Spanos, director of economic development & community affairs of Oakland County, commented on the county’s enthusiasm to help with these talks, stating that they will be “promoting the conference through the county’s existing marketing channels, OaklandCountyProsper.com…and through social media venues” as well as sitting on the speaker selection committee. 

Dinsmoor and Rutledge sat down with the speaker selection committee in mid-July and have not yet released any of this year’s line-up. Two of last year’s speakers received over 100,000 views on TED’s YouTube channel.

What is even more impressive about this conference is that it is entirely volunteer-coordinated. None of the volunteers receive compensation for their work and speakers do not receive money for presenting.

Through donations by the county, President Hynd and Provost James Lentini, Dinsmoor and Rutledge, as well as others, are making this a reality with the help of the TedX student organization (check them out on GrizzOrgs). 

The current vice-president of the TedX student organization, Mark Wright, describes his experience with the 2014 conference as “absolutely incredible.”

Wright noticed the heightened interest in the event, stating that the “conference turn-out itself was humbling…and to see other people’s passions was truly an experience I will never forget.”

Those interested in purchasing tickets for the conference will experience different labs and presentations by local and national speakers. Tickets go on sale mid-August at tedxoaklanduniversity.com. A limited number of student discounted tickets will be available.

The TedX conference will be held Oct. 23, 2015 in the O’rena. Dinsmoor hopes the event will “bring people to campus…inspire students…and give students an opportunity to volunteer.”

TedX puts Oakland on the worldwide stage, highlighting the respect that is held for the university. Find the conference on Facebook at TedX Oakland University and at their website for ticket sales and speaker information.