TEDx Talk to get Northern’s campus talking


Isabela Ney

TED Talks are about sparking conversations on a diverse range of topics.

The presentation TEDxNMU will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 24 in Jamrich 1100 and will be hosted by the student organization TED Talks Club. The event will feature eight speakers, each covering a topic of their choosing based on expertise and experience.

“I think TEDxNMU will serve as a catalyst for innovative conversations to take place at NMU,” said Allison Opheim, a sophomore public relations, pre-law major and member of the TED Talks Club. “It will serve as a conversation piece and opening for deeper conversations to take place on campus and throughout the community.”

TED is a nonprofit dedicated to spreading ideas across the world through brief and powerful lectures.

At NMU, the presenters will include professors, alumni and students, covering a wide range of ideas and opinions. Big topics like climate change and fake news will get a new voice via professor Jes Thompson and alumna Kaylee Laasko. On matters closer to home, Nancy Langston from Michigan Tech will discuss Lake Superior conservation, and Kate Remlinger of Grand Valley State University will share her observations on Yooper dialect.

Furthermore, the case against the use of “to be” in the English language will be made by junior English Writing major Abigail Zeman. Other topics include understanding chronic pain, neuroplasticity and the challenges of “adulting” in the era of social media.

The TEDx program allows grassroots idea-sharers to independently organize TED events in their own communities. This is exactly what happened when a few students formed the TED Talks Club at NMU last spring. These students dedicated over a year of planning efforts to bring the event to life. After being approved for a license through the TEDx program, they selected speakers they felt would interest students at NMU.

“I think that giving people who normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to share their ideas with the world a platform to do so is what inspires me most about TED Talks,” Opheim said. “It’s easy for someone who is extremely extroverted to talk regularly about what’s going on in their mind, but the true beauty of TED is that all people—no matter how shy, outgoing, or loud they are—have an opportunity to be listened to and truly heard by a larger audience.”

The primary source of funding for the event is through the Student Finance Committee which is supported by the $35 student activity fee each student pays in addition to tuition. For this reason, tickets were reserved for students and sold on a first-come first-serve basis.

Due to contractual restrictions, the live show is limited to 100 audience members, and it has already sold out. However, there will be overflow viewing in Jamrich room 1322 during the event, and a livestream will be made available to NMU students. Tickets for the overflow viewing include access to a reception with the speakers and an opportunity to discuss ideas further in the University Center. For the rest of the world, individual TED talks videos will be published on TED.com