Students Kyrin Pollock and Matthew Gill give a talk on virtual reality at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity 2016. Pollock is an organizer for this year's event.
Photo by Jonathan Cohen
TEDx speakers look ‘beyond the canvas’
March 22, 2017Tweet
For TEDxBinghamtonUniversity student organizers, there is an added weight to keep the annual campus event at a high-quality level.
“You want the event to grow and become well-established,” senior Elaine Lee said. “You want your talks picked up by TED. That’s how you know you are doing well. You want students to acknowledge that this event is a great networking opportunity because we are bringing in people who they may not otherwise be able to meet.”
On Sunday, March 26, Lee and fellow student organizers Kyrin Pollock, Jasmine Teu and Daniel Pressman will present seven speakers who are thinking outside the box and looking “beyond the canvas.” The seventh TEDxBinghamtonUniversity event will begin at 1 p.m. at the Osterhout Concert Theater. Tickets at on-campus tabling are $10, while tickets at the door are $15.
The speaker lineup, which again includes a Binghamton University alumna and a current student, features:
• Ranier Maningding, a Filipino-American advertising copywriter and writer for The Love Life of an Asian Guy (LLAG), a growing social media platform for race, politics and pop culture: “Social Activism is the New Civil Rights Movement.”
• Eric Butorac, an 18-time Association of Tennis Professionals doubles winner and 2014 Australian Open finalist: “Don’t Dream Big.”
• Mollie Teitelbaum, a senior at Binghamton University majoring in philosophy and comparative literature: “So that’s why you annoy me! “Combating peccadillic implicit bias.”
• Gunnar Garfors, one of the few people to have visited every country in the world: “World’s Least-Visited Countries Revisited.”
• Cevin Soling, a writer, scholar, music producer and award-winning filmmaker: “The Truthiness of School.”
• Ellyn Kaschak ’65, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning psychologist, author and professor emerita of psychology at San Jose State University in California: “Seeing is Believing or Is Believing Seeing?”
• Chris Koch, who was born without arms and legs, helped on his family’s farm, and played sports such as baseball, soccer and snowboarding: “If I Can…”
Binghamton University’s Black Dance Repertoire will perform at intermission.
“These are speakers who are inspirational in their lives,” Lee said. “Everyone has a unique aspect about them.”
The student organizers began working on this year’s lineup shortly after the conclusion of the 2016 event. The organizers gathered over the summer with a spreadsheet of potential speakers.
“We explained why we thought each speaker would be a good addition to the (2017) lineup,” Pollock said. “From there, the ones we were most excited about would be who we pursued.”
Pollock knows a lot about being on the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity stage. She and fellow student Matthew Gill delivered a talk on virtual reality at last year’s event.
“It’s a great organization and I wanted to do more with the event,” Pollock said. “It’s a great experience to see it from another angle.”
Pollock said she has attended the practice sessions of the next Binghamton student to take the TEDx stage: Mollie Teitelbaum. Pollock praised the role of the Public Speaking Lab in getting student speakers prepared.
“Our talk (last year) was very technical,” Pollock said. “We had to make sure we could explain the concepts clearly and get the message across to the audience.”
While an alumni speaker is not required at TEDxBinghamtonUniversity, the organizers said it is an essential part of the event.
“We realize how important it is to build the connection between Binghamton University and past graduates,” Lee said. “Being able to share that connection is worthwhile and beneficial.”
The event will not only include nearly two dozen student volunteers, but the “Beyond the Canvas” logo and other marketing materials were designed by a Binghamton University student: Troy Vasilakis.
The organizers said they would like audience members to leave the event with an open mind to new ideas and a greater appreciation of the speakers.
“I hope a spark goes off during the event and they say: ‘I never thought of that,’” Teu said. “Then they leave thinking about how much they learned and how inspired they are.”
For Lee, a three-year member of the TEDxBinghamtonUniversity team and the only senior organizer, the end of the event will produce a mix of emotions.
“I am appreciative of this opportunity,” Lee said. “I want other students to see this position and vie for it. I never knew this was possible when I entered Binghamton University. There is so much to learn outside of the classroom. It has been the most memorable part of my undergraduate career.”