Last Saturday, April 13, the TEDxIIT team hosted its event for the third consecutive year in IIT Tower from 9:30 am–6:00 pm. Providing free admission, food and drinks, we invited the whole IIT community to attend but limited attendance to 100 participants. After checking in and receiving their name tags, attendees were allowed to interact with everyone until 9:45am at which time the doors opened and they were greeted by our founder and co-organizer Amy Lee Segami and emcee Bob Roitblat. To start off the event with some enthusiasm, we pulled up a three-minute TED video by Chris Anderson. Then we called upon speakers Sara Beardsley, Chris Drew, Cheryl Jefferson and James Howard Stone, who took the stage to discuss topics that affect society—reducing pollution in cities, breaking criminal traditions and achieving full employment. To energize ourselves, we announced a 30-minute break before we continued the event.
After break, 8x(tet), a band consisting of students from Chicago universities, performed jazz music pepping us up for the next two speakers. But before then, we pulled up another TED video entitled “Abundance Is Our Future” by Peter Diamandis. Speaker Nik Rokop took the stage to talk about the importance of starting a business after school followed by speaker Jacqueline Roche (PSYC 4th year), who spoke about how education saved her life. We were halfway through the event when we announced another break but this time for lunch!
We proceeded with the event calling up speakers Avelo Roy, Neil Milsted and Nina Ellis-Hervey whose talks were “Currency of Relationships,” “As We May Do” and “Psychological Well-Being: The Path to Holistic Health.” Then we announced our last 30-minute break but before that, we had a surprise for the audience. Because of their patience, we called upon Daniel Guidara, tai chi instructor who taught us a few tai chi moves to refresh us!
Our last three speakers were Ann F. Clark, Manu K. Vora and Retired Colonel Jill Morgenthaler. Clark explained how future architects can contribute to rebuilding the community in a Third-World country by bringing in her experience working in Haiti. Vora explained how he founded the Blind Foundation of India to harness the power of the gift of sight. And Morgenthaler shared one major leadership secret that showed us how to exponentially increase one’s performance as a leader. After that we had a reception where people were encouraged to network.
The response and feedback we got from the Chicago and IIT communities was amazing! Some of the compliments included being “blown away,” “a well-organized student-run event,” “inspiring speakers” and “worth the full days’ time.” We had 1,242 views on live streaming and 1,974 views on our live-stream page from Canada, India and China with a total of 13,587 page views! And do you know what the best part was? Our webmaster received a call from a student in India who had seen TEDxIIT 2013 online. He said that he got admitted to IIT to pursue his graduate education but wasn’t sure if IIT was the right choice. But after watching TEDxIIT 2013, he felt that IIT would be his perfect college.
Inspiration really does take you far!