TEDx Oakland University conference is returning to campus

Katarina Kovac, Campus Editor

Many people are familiar with TED Talks, yet not many Oakland University students are aware that there is a TEDx at OU organization on campus.

TED stands for “Technology, Entertainment, Design” and is a conference series that began in 1984. Speakers are invited to these TED events with the mission to inspire, challenge and evoke thought provoking concepts and ideas.

As for OU’s TEDx origin story, President Luke Bambrick knew it was worth having on campus.

“It took off pretty quickly that in 2014 there was OU’s first major TEDx conference in the O’rena,” Bambrick said. “There were a lot of people that came and it turned out to be way bigger than everyone thought it would be. Everyone was fired up about it and everything was amazing, but eventually after the event, people graduated and things began to fallout.”

When describing this fallout in the student organization, Bambrick attributed it to the amount of seniors who were enthusiastic about the group who had graduated.

“When I arrived on campus and found out about the organization, I was ecstatic because these talks inspired me in so many different ways,” Bambrick said. “I wanted to get involved within my own school and participate. I remember going to my first event, and there were only a handful of people there. It was really sad, because I remember thinking, ‘What happened?’”

This is when he made the decision to join the board within the organization and eventually become president. They had other people join on and started weekly board meetings.

“From that point, we started to get our social media back up and running and now we have our board positions filled and several volunteers,” Bambrick said.

In terms of TED’s relevancy in our modern age, Bambrick says that it is ultimately about providing a new outlook on life.

“TED is more than fancy conferences or entertaining YouTube videos,” Bambrick said. “It is about encouraging the relentless desire to grow, learn and deepen the richness of life.”

Although the TEDx at OU organization plays an active role in keeping TED relevant on campus, the organization hasn’t played a role in organizing the actual conferences just yet.

“The two previous events were planned by a team of about 25 faculty and staff and a few core volunteer students,” Amy Rutledge, professor at OU and co-organizer of TEDx OU said.

Laura Dinsmoor, special lecturer within the School of Engineering and Computer Science at OU, serves as an advisor for OU’s TEDx organization.

“We brought the TEDx conference to campus in the first place for many reasons,” Dinsmoor said. “The idea behind TED and TEDx is to allow people to understand new ideas and think in new ways while opening up their minds. We also wanted to give the students an opportunity to organize and attempt a conference. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t that be something great for students to have on their resume?’”

Videos from OU’s first TEDx events have been watched over 3 million times. Professor’s Terri Orbuch and Barbara Oakley’s talks have largely contributed to this number.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 6 p.m. in Hillcrest Hall, the next TEDx & Chill event will be held. If interested, join the organization on GrizzOrgs or follow the club on Instagram @TEDxOaklandUniversity.