TEDx talk to focus on social action


By Caroline Williams, Staff Writer

Stetson will host an independent TEDx talk this Friday. The theme for this talk, titled TEDxStetsonU, is “Significance in Action: Creating Learning, Innovation, and Happiness,” and will feature presentations from multiple Stetson students, faculty and staff members.

TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short talks. Today, TED talks cover various topics including science, business, and other issues with an aim to form a global community where people from different cultures can share ideas both in person and online.

TEDxStetsonU was organized by several staff members including Ana Maia, assistant director for Leadership and Organization Development, and Dr. Emily Richardson, associate vice president for Boundless Learning, along with juniors Matthew Gerken and Susan Scaggs.

“The goal was to host another educational event on campus to showcase innovative research and ideas occurring at Stetson and in the surrounding community,” Maia said in an email.

Graduate student Sam Slaughter and Dr. Paul Croce, professor of History and American Studies, will speak under the Creating Learning category. Their presentation will address the relationship between education and information, and how to process the overload of information we experience on a daily basis.

“Although we all love the convenience of abundant information, I think young people feel discouraged by a side effect of mass information in a mass culture full of massive power structures and massive problems,” Croce said in an email. “I perceive that many feel powerless because their knowledge and their work seem to have no impact. This is a breeding ground for apathy and boredom.”

Dr. Hari Pulapaka, associate professor of Mathematics and co-owner of Cress Restaurant, and Kevin Winchell, assistant director of Community Engagement, are scheduled to present under the category Creating Innovation.

Dr. Pulapaka will speak about the measures chefs, politicians, and other people can take to improve their region’s food system.

“Food is basic and personal,” Pulapaka said. “Our food sources are becoming increasingly complex. We must all eat. So, why not try to eat better and at the same time take steps to make our food system better for our generation as well as future generations?”

Pulapaka said hopes his talk will inspire more people to “create a sea of positive change.”

Winchell’s segment will focus on how to make ideas into reality.

“Oftentimes, people have great, creative ideas but they don’t know how to make them happen,” Winchell said. “In the Stetson community, there are many people who are interested in civic and political engagement or who have a passion for something that they want to take to the next level. This presentation should provide stories and a message that resonates with all of those individuals.”

Caroline Skinner, a graduate Business student, and Natalie Faria, a senior Political Science and Religious Studies major, will present under the category Creating Happiness. Their presentation will focus on how to create happiness in our lives and in the lives of others.

“Everyone wants to find what makes them happy and do that, because happiness is vital to our well-being,” Faria said.

In addition, Skinner will speak about P.O.V.E.R.T.Y, which stands for Putting Out Very Erroneously Regarded Thoughts You’ve (got about the subject).

“I [experienced poverty], so my research is first-hand,” Skinner said. “It ain’t about the money.”

The talk will take place at 2:30 p.m. this Friday in Allen Hall. Tickets are available at HUB in the CUB.