Last week, NJIT had the pleasure of hosting the fall 2015 TEDxNJIT at the Jim Wise Theater. Now, TEDx’s have themes that all of the given talks for the event touch upon. TEDxNJIT was no different, focusing on how we can improve urban living and communities. All of the talks really tackled the subject really well and thoughtfully but in very diverse angles. However, recordings of the event can be found on the TEDxNJIT website, as well as on the TEDx Youtube account. This leads to the question, why would anyone go to a TEDx if one can just watch the videos online?
As an Information Technology major who makes video games, the topic put out for the TEDx wasn’t something that interested me. Actually, it wasn’t something anyone in my field would think would interest them. In fact, urban revival sounds like it’s about building actual buildings and parks, not software.
The greatest thing about things we see online all the time is when you get to see them in front of you, they feel like you can reach out and grasp something special, that now you’re a part of something important. While we can open up our Netflix accounts and watch whatever movies we want, there’s something about sitting in at a movie theater with a lot of people. For something like a TEDx, being in that crowd, you really get a sense that you’re a part of something big, like you’re in on a revolution and you’re one of the first witnesses to the birth of what could be a movement.
I wasn’t initially excited about the theme, yet, by the end of the whole event, once the NJIT Dance Team walked off the stage, and as we all were going back to our regular everyday lives, I felt pumped up, as if, now it was my time to do something awesome, that now I have to take this knowledge and try something with it in mind. Essentially, I came out with an entrepreneurial mindset where I thought, “Hey, maybe I can apply something from my life into something like this.”
TEDx’s aren’t really as different as a college colloquium on a Friday morning or a PhD dissertation, but what they really do is open a broad number of people to topic in all sorts of different languages. The reason why you really should sit into one is because, you get that idea ingrained in you, that you could be a technologist but still be interested, or a biologist but still be interested. And, funny enough, a lot of other people shared the same rhetoric. Michelle Marki, a project manager at the NJ Innovation Institute, stated, “I came to listen to Dr. Sebastion and he talked about technological innovation… but from the other presenters, I wasn’t sure how they were going to present about the ‘Urban Phoenix of Newark’ but it was exciting to see a lot of excitement and energy to try to revitalize Newark and the ideas and projects that are all converging in our Newark area.”.
And the same was seen with people who never went heard about TEDx, before, including Sebastian Valencia and Nameka Oku who noted that because the NJIT Dance Team had the chance to show their stuff, that TEDx made them feel inspired.
TEDxNJIT was a powerful event in its own right, and that isn’t forgetting the countless numbers of people sharing their stories and the lessons that they’ve all learned. As it was inspiring to a lot of people in attendance, it makes you wonder about your own possibilities, that you can bring change. Maybe, even you can stand on a TED stage and share your contributions to the world.