Baton Rouge community gathers for “ideas worth spreading” - News

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Baton Rouge community gathers for “ideas worth spreading”

TEDxLSU presentations focused on local community, change

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Posted: Sunday, March 10, 2013 9:28 pm

Ideas of creativity, innovation, bicycling and musical collaboration were shared at the Reilly Theatre on Saturday afternoon at the sold out TEDxLSU event.

The event consisted of three 90-minute sessions in which local entrepreneurs, activists and artists discussed their “ideas worth sharing” in hopes of changing the Baton Rouge community. The captivated audience included Interim System President and Chancellor William “Bill” Jenkins, Dean of the College of Music and Dramatic Arts Laurence Kaptain, students, professors and members of the Baton Rouge community.

The event kicked off at 12:30 p.m. with a performance by the LSU Jazz Trio, followed by three rounds of talks, with each segment punctuated by an intermission. Local food trucks were on hand to provide attendees dinner with a bit of Baton Rouge flair.

The talks focused on the theme of “evolve,” and most speakers encouraged the audience to be part of change in their community.

“It was everything we wanted it to be,” said Joey Watson, curator for TEDxLSU. “We don’t know how this is going to change us yet. The most rewarding part of this is going to be watching how it unfolds and grows in the community.”

Watson said he enjoyed the intense engagement he was hearing among audience members during the intermissions.

Physics freshman Andrew Olivier had never heard of TED talks before being told about the event two weeks ago.

Olivier said he did not know what to expect from the event but “liked the emphasis on community building.” The event was “very professional and well done,”[CQ] he added.

Many of the students in attendance were volunteers from the University.

Marketing sophomore Jordan Koenig was one such volunteer. Koenig said he watched many TED talks online and was excited to have the opportunity to sit in on one of the sessions.

Koenig said he particularly enjoyed the talk given by local filmmaker Zack Godshall, who used few resources and a small budget to create his film “Lord Byron.”

“I like the idea that you can make something creative but successful with nothing but what you have,” Koenig said.

Music graduate students Nick Hwang and Will Conlin presented a musical collaboration using a saxophone and homemade instruments.

Conlin who recently attended TEDxBroadway said TEDxLSU was similar but more intimate and reflected the idea of community.

The duo said they felt their presentation went well and would love to be invited to present in more TED talks.

“People came up to us and said they were inspired and they were really interested in what we were doing,” Hwang said.

Hwang also enjoyed the other speakers’ presentations, calling the talks inspiring.

“The messages are really similar — you see what other people are doing and you want to get involved,” Hwang said. “Their passion is infectious.”

Kaptain said an event such as TED is long overdue for Baton Rouge.

“This is a creative and intellectual watershed,” he said. “It is something we should have been doing, and now we’re doing it.”

Watson has already obtained a license for a TEDxLSU talk in 2014 and said he hopes to streamline some things for the next talk, though he wants to maintain an outstanding lineup of speakers.

“We learned a lot this year, logistically and structurally,” he said.

Watson said he hopes to have more student engagement in the future, with the potential for more student presentations and tiered ticket pricing to make the event more affordable for students.

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