By Paige Mueller. Originally posted on May 22nd 2016 on The Clara

On Tuesday May 10, 2016, Santa Clara University hosted TEDx, an independently organized TED event. With the red-circle carpet and all, eight students and professionals spoke in Santa Clara’s very own Recital Hall on campus.  

Some of the inspiring topics of the event included how coffee can change the world, how toPlay Your Game and go through life with vulnerability and courage, how technology is not innovative, but people are, and so much more.

Co-presidents, Peter Hession and Grant Margerum, strove to host an event where prominent ideas in Silicon Valley, such as Paradigm Shifts and Thinking Outside the Box, would inspire and provoke thought among both students and the greater community. After lengthy planning beginning over summer 2015, Grant, Peter, and a team of five other executive members organized, found speakers, and ultimately hosted this TEDx event.

As Santa Clara University had hosted a TEDx event in the spring of 2013, Peter and Grant “wanted to design something more official—a ‘professional grade production’—to inspire other students and the administration to get involved and create more of a tradition on campus.”  The first production of TEDx SCU was hosted in the Forbes Family Conference Center, but, as Peter put it, was a “much smaller and more casual event.”  Peter and Grant’s main goal was to adhere to the TED guidelines, but also make the event something that people look forward to every spring.

Having undergraduates and professionals as speakers created a friendly atmosphere for both students and community members in the audience. Grant and Peter wanted TEDx SCU to be a balanced platform for students and industry workers to share their ideas. As students started applying to become speakers, the co-presidents used their networks to find professionals that would embody the theme: Paradigm Shifts. The students and speakers only had five weeks to prepare their talk, so the executive team committed hours of dedicated work to make sure everything went smoothly.

The Miller Center and SCU Presents were a huge factor in the success of the TEDx event because of the work and time they put into running and helping out before and during the event.  

Among the specific inspirational and thought-provoking speeches, Thane Kreiner, the Executive Director of the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship and a professor here at SCU, opened the event with statistics regarding eradicating poverty through social entrepreneurship.  Vocalizing these surprising statistics enticed the crowd as he went on to explain how he and others should think about poverty.

A crowd favorite was Cormac McOsker with witty banter about coffee. Opening with a personal story about believing he was Harry Potter, he continued into the self-efficacy factors of success and failure.  His speech titled, “With Enough Coffee, Anyone Can Change the World,” evoked a sense of coffee-dence, so-to-speak, where talent does not equate to success, but success is linked to confidence.

The event had many other speakers, including Dr. Adam Dorsay (Facebook) who discussed men’s emotions and why men do not feel the need to show emotions on a daily basis.  Tess Miller spoke about shattering misconceptions regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. This event could not have been possible without the two co-presidents and all of the organizations and behind-the-scenes help from various groups such as SCU Presents and the Miller Center.

This year’s TEDx talks aimed to stimulate a dialogue about paradigm shifts and thinking differently. Hopefully this can become a tradition on the beautiful SCU campus and generate another round of intriguing speakers and topics to enhance conversations throughout Silicon Valley.