TEDx coming to VCU next year

Sean Price
Contributing Writer

Students and faculty excited by last year’s inaugural TEDxRVA event have a new reason to celebrate: VCU is getting a TED Talk of its own.

TEDxVCU, headed by junior Elliot Roth, is scheduled to take place in November 2014. The Student Government Association first considered the idea of a TEDx event at VCU and decided to host the event after they received sponsorship from TEDxRVA organizers.

TED is an organization that holds conferences all over the world for the sake of “ideas worth spreading.” Roth said there’s a lot of ideas that don’t get enough attention at VCU, and he hopes a TED event would help spread those ideas.

“We want to take the cutting-edge ideas that people at VCU have and showcase them,” Roth said. “We want to help put VCU on the map as a source of new and unique ideas.”

The event itself differs from the normal TED talk in the same way TEDxRVA did, because it is  on the local level. This, Roth said, is the most important aspect of the event.

“This is a way to give future ideas a stage and show what VCU is doing while giving back to the community by having TEDxRVA in the spring and TEDxVCU in the fall,” Roth said.

Associate vice provost and dean of student affairs Reuban Rodriguez, Ph.D., said he has helped guide the TEDxVCU group.

“Whenever students come up with any sort of idea, most of them are really good ideas,” Rodriguez said. “I try to point them in the right direction whether they’re looking for funding or information.”

Rodriguez said after learning about the TEDxRVA event last spring, he thinks it would be a good idea to bring it to VCU.

The TEDxVCU collective wants to extend the event to the whole community, Roth said. The group is looking to academic department heads to gain support. They are also looking for students to help with the event.

“These ideas need to be in the community,” Roth said. “We want to break down the barriers between the departments with ideas that can branch across departments and fields. This is something people from all majors and departments can collaborate through.”

The event will be open to the public and will consist of multiple discussions held on campus at several venues, ranging from small salon-style talks to large theater scale talks. The larger talks may be streamed online, broadcast or even projected in the Compass on a giant screen, Roth said.

If TEDxVCU is a success, Roth hopes the event will continue annually every fall in cooperation with TEDxRVA in the spring. The group is requesting funds from the SGA to start planning the event.


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