TEDxUSF is Here

Friday night’s event at the School of Music, with the theme “On the Edge of the Future,” will feature nine speakers.






Editor’s Note: The TEDxUSF event will be live streamed from the School of Music. The event is scheduled from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 22.


By Peter E. Howard

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2013) – The University of South Florida will host a series of talks Friday night, a TEDx event titled “On the Edge of the Future” that will feature nine speakers connected to the university who will engage around sustainability, success and life-changing thoughts.

The TEDxUSF event, an independently-organized TED event, will be held from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the USF School of Music. It will also be live-streamed, and several watch parties are scheduled around campus for those who weren’t able to obtain one of the 100 tickets issued to the live event.

TED is a nonprofit group that promotes “Ideas Worth Spreading,” and its TEDTalks are a popular feature on its website, www.ted.com. TED allows for independent groups to sponsor TEDx events, and a team at USF has been working on its program for more than a year.

“I’m so passionate for what this can do to energize our community and unite our community,” said Jennifer Espinola, director of the USF Center for Leadership & Civic Engagement and the “Curator” of the TEDx event.

“Our faculty, staff and students have all come together to make this happen,” she said. “The TED brand is so huge and the response has been phenomenal.”

More than 60 people applied to speak at the event, submitting an outline of their proposed talk and a short video of them speaking. Espinola’s committee whittled the speakers list down to nine. They include:

·         Jordan Zimmerman, USF trustee. Talking about success/risk-taking.

·         Mary Newport, USF faculty. Speaking on dietary interventions for Alzheimer’s.

·         Steven Franklin, USF graduate student. Talking about active participation in healthcare.

·         Raven Villegas, USF undergraduate. Discussing changing general election requirements.

·         Patrizia LaTrecchia, USF faculty. Talking on food waste.

·         Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, USF faculty. Speaking on the future of water and smart water systems.

·         Shivani Gogna, USF graduate student. Talking about the power of personal investments in sustainability initiatives.

·         Randy Borum, USF faculty. Talking about adaptive thinkers.

·         William Wiedrich, USF faculty. Speaking on the power of live musical performance.

Espinola said the theme, “On the Edge of the Future,” nicely frames the talks, which will feature “progressive ideas that need to be dealt with now. There is a sense of urgency on how we will deal with them.”

The live event will take place inside the School of Music’s recital hall. A small audience of 100 people will be admitted. An overflow crowd of another 100 people will watch the event by video in the nearby concert hall. Refreshments will be served, and a four-piece student band will perform during an intermission.

Friday night watch parties have been scheduled at the Patel Center, Marshall Student Center Chambers Room, Shimberg Health Sciences Library and other locations. A full calendar of events, other information and Friday night’s live feed can be found here.

More than 700 people applied to attend the live event. Each had to write a short essay on why they wanted to be in the audience.

In addition to the USF Center for Leadership, Friday’s talk is sponsored by Housing & Residential Education, USF College of The Arts, USF World, USF Student Government and the Graduate & Professional Student Council.

Espinola hopes the TEDx event can be an annual tradition at USF. Although independent from TED, the “x” events need to be licensed by TED and adhere to a strict list of guidelines.

“I’m so excited about this,” Espinola said. “It is such a great thing for the University of South Florida.”