Lawrenceville Hosts First TEDx

News  /  by Eden Fesseha '19  /  May 05, 2017

This past Thursday, Kalah Brown ’19 and Ally Stonum ’19 hosted a TEDx event on campus on the topic of “The Future.” The event started at 7:00 PM in the Heely Room and featured talks from four members of the student body: Damla Ozdemir ’19, Cameron Desnoes ’19, Shaezmina Khan ’19, and Eve Brewer ’18.

After opening statements by Brown and Stonum, Ozdemir gave the first talk about languages, titled “The Future of Language: A Journey through Time.”

Next, Brewer spoke about aquaponics in her talk titled “Aquaponics: Farming of the Future.” Her talk suggested that aquaponics is a possible source of farming, food security, and sustainability in the future.

Khan gave a talk called “The Future of the Hijab in the West.” Explaining why she chose to give her talk, Khan said, “Especially in this day and age, [in which] the hijab is a big topic of discussion, I feel that it is important for people to know what the hijab really means.” In addition to explaining why women of the Muslim faith wear the hijab, Khan addressed some of the misconceptions surrounding the head covering.

Lastly, Desnoes gave a talk on happiness. He said, “I’ve always been interested in philosophy, and I thought that ‘The Future’ was a perfect topic [to talk about].”

In his talk, he discussed the distinction between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of pleasure, concluding that one must approach life “sustainably” in order to ensure happiness in the long term.

All of the speakers spoke for about 12 minutes, and the evening concluded with remarks from Brown and Stonum.

“Hopefully people learned that we have a diverse spread of people on campus [...] and maybe they [will] be inspired to speak next year,” Stonum said.

Brown and Stonum, having to secure a license and permission to host an event at Lawrenceville, have been planning the event for over two months. This permission was given to Brown and Stonum in early March.

Brown, whose family is involved with TED in several capacities, attended a TEDYouth event in New York City last October. She explained that the event influenced her, saying, “I thought it’d be a great experience to have it at Lawrenceville—to have students be able to learn about each other’s stories and experiences since everybody has such different ideas.”

Once the event was set to happen at Lawrenceville, Brown and Stonum were tasked with choosing speakers. Applicants were required to submit not only their topics and why they should discuss that topic, but also a short video explaining a little bit about the topic. From ten applicants, Brown and Stonum chose four speakers whom they thought the student body would most want to hear.