University of Richmond's second TEDx event, an independently organized event inspired by the TED-talk format, was positively received at Camp Concert Hall Wednesday night.
Tickets sold out two weeks in advance, and students expressed genuine excitement at the thought of listening to accomplished people in different fields talking about the issues that inspire them.
The overarching theme for the event was "Respond." The thread that connected the different speakers was a desire to "Respond," a feeling that was soon ingrained in many members of the audience as the event progressed.
Daniel Yoo, a junior and president of the TEDx team, opened the evening with a welcome address. He spoke about his desire to organize a TEDx event that could be traced to the first, hosted during his freshman year.
The idea for "Respond," a personal expression toward a societal issue, was inspired by The Little Prince's understanding of the value of what belonged to him. It was around that that the speaker list and selection of topics was built.
The first member of the panel differed from the rest as she was more performer than speaker. Susy Kim, violinist with the Richmond Symphony and adjunct professor at Richmond, performed an emotive piece on the violin to set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Ed King, pediatrician and owner of a practice in Pittsburgh, followed Kim, and talked about the importance of identifying and understanding issues of mental wellness and doing away with stigmas associated with them.
The third speaker was Joanne Kong, director of the accompanying and chamber music programs at Richmond. Her speech centered around vegetarianism and moving away from meat-based products to preserve the lives and living conditions of animals. She also included a critique of the Standard American Diet (SAD), which, as she called it, was SAD from a healthcare and social standpoint. Her anthropomorphic description of the plight of a pig was striking to many in the audience.
Tressie McMillan Cottom, assistant professor of sociology at VCU, was supposed to be the fourth speaker but cancelled because of other commitments.
The last speaker, Michael Brown, member of the department of neurosurgery at Duke University, talked about groundbreaking discoveries that could prevent cancer. He said the key to curing cancer may not lie in the future but in what humans have left in the past. He showed that recent experiments with a certain docile cousin of the polio virus could help identify and kill cancer cells.
Despite the cancellation of a speaker, the event went smoothly and the audience seemed enriched by their experience. Those who were unable to get tickets or attend the event seemed keen on obtaining a recording.
Speaking after the event, Daniel Yoo said that he was really proud of his team. "It really was a step up from the last time I experienced a TEDx event at the university," he said.
After Yoo graduates, he said he hopes "that TEDx is taken up another notch in further editions."
"For anyone looking to help organize an event like this, I can only say that be ready for anything," Yoo said. "One of our speakers cancelled today but that does not have to impact the rest of the show. So you just have to be prepared for anything."
Contact reporter Krishna Lohiya at email@example.com