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Communications student curates first TEDx La Verne

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Layla Abbas
Assistant Editor

Two years in the making, the first TEDx La Verne event themed “New Perspectives” is set for April 24.

Flora Wong, senior communications major, is curating the event as her senior project.

She first set the goal to bring TEDx to ULV during her sophomore year.

“The application process was pretty intense, but I still wanted to pursue (it),” said Wong, whose first application was denied. “I took a second chance and my license from the TED National Office was approved in November 2017.”

TED, the acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design, is a nonprofit organization started in 1984.

In 18 minutes or less, TED Talks inform the audience with new ideas to spark productive conversations.

TEDx refers to independently produced TED-style talks. TEDx was created with the same goals in mind as TED, but tailored for independent organizers in their own community.

Both welcome people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.

Wong said her two-year process allowed her to think critically about TEDx.

“I have experience with organizing and running events, which gave me the upper hand in the application process,” Wong said. “It tested me on TED values, what makes a TEDx event and guided me through the process.”

The TEDx event at La Verne will include a three-part speaker series, including a person in the professional world, a student and one faculty member or alumni of La Verne.

Bogumil Baranowski, investor and author in New York City, will speak at the event and pass out free copies of his book called “Outsmarting the Crowd.”

Wong is still seeking a student speaker for the event and is in the interview process with a potential faculty speaker.

“As the curator and event organizer, my job is to expand and have an in-depth talk on the speaker’s topic that they are passionate about,” Wong said.

“It is a space to share knowledge and give the audience a new way to view the community and beyond.”

She encourages people to sign up, volunteer, or become a sponsor at tedxuniversityoflaverne.com.

Melanie Browdy, senior business administration major, offered to assist Wong with her senior project because she believes in the positive outcomes TEDx will have for everyone.

“We are a small university and there is only so much we can offer,” Browdy said. “This event is something found at bigger universities, but we now offer it here, which is huge. Students will see the kinds of events La Verne has to offer and gain a sense of our identity.”

Tamira Siqueiros, junior accounting major, met Wong through the business fraternity Delta Sigma Pi.

Siqueiros helps with finances for the TEDx event. After ASULV denied funding the TEDx event, Wong and her team have asked clubs to help cover the costs of portfolios and decor for the event.

“We gave a presentation with all of the positive outcomes of this event and what it could mean for La Verne,” Siqueiros said. “Since Flora’s passion is to make it part of Delta Sigma Pi, the University and her senior project they had to deny it.”

Siqueiros said offering this event will provide networking and learning opportunities for La Verne students.

“We are in a political movement … and we need new perspectives on topics while learning to respect other people’s perspectives,” Siqueiros said. “Sometimes we feel open minded, but we are around the same group of people who feel the same way we do.”

Miguel Ignacio, senior business administration major, is helping Wong with the digital marketing aspect of her project.

“This event is not just embettering one individual, but it is bettering multiple individuals,” Ignacio said. “One speaker can make the impact on so many others. Sponsors will help change the lives of many others.”

Wong’s goal for this event is to make it an annual event at La Verne. She has reached out to the Career Center with benefits this event provides and is seeking a replacement for her role.

“Most TEDx events at universities happen one time and then die out,” Wong said. “I want ours to stand out and become annual. I will not graduate unless I find someone to carry it on.”

Wong is hopeful this event will be a space for authentic storytelling and for inspiring individuals.

“It will be publicized on the TEDx Youtube channel and various social media sites,” Wong said. “The event will put our University on the map. It is not only for myself, but also for the community, students and future applicants of La Verne.”

The TEDx event is free and open to the first 100 people who RSVP at tedxuniversityoflaverne.com/rsvp.

Layla Abbas can be reached at layla.abbas@laverne.edu.

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