by Dariel Chaidez
A coalition of students, faculty, and staff have recently come together on campus to create a dialogue around change. This dialogue is in the context of a TEDx event, where speakers share an experience create further discussions. Donielle Alicea, Hannah Anthony, Paul Clines, Dr. Christopher Hubbard, Jorge Ortiz, and Ami Thakkar make up the core team of NPU’s very own TED event, TEDx North Park University. This event will take place on May 3 from 12:30 to 7 pm in Anderson Chapel and will feature a wide array of speakers delivering powerful, short dialogues on various topics.
Student Paul Clines first thought of the idea after watching a TED Talk in Dr. Hubbard’s class. Dr. Hubbard says that the conception of TEDx sparked from mutual ideas, saying “It’s a way bring something to campus to bring people together.” Clines then took the initiative of submitting an application to TED, and shortly after approval the core team was formed. Their team is “comprised of diverse people that represent all parts of campus” according to Clines. This group consists of staff and students from many parts of the campus community, each bringing their own strengths and abilities to the event. The uniqueness of this entire event can be seen right through the core group in that there is no hierarchy. This equal footing creates an atmosphere of dialogue and respect, something that has been translated to all areas of TEDx NPU through the diligent members of the core team.
The theme of the inaugural TEDx event is Shifting Paradigms. Essentially, the focus will be on moving from one type of thinking to another. Hannah Anthony elaborates: “Shifting Paradigms is a perfect topic. It is broad enough to include all disciplines, yet specific enough to be applied to each individual.”
According to Dr. Hubbard, “We’re quietly excellent.” An array of excellent speakers are scheduled at the event, including biology professor Dr. Brown, theology professor Dr. Clifton-Soderstrom, art professor Tim Lowly, sociology professor Dr. St. Jean and seminary professor Dr. Rah. Third-year student Melanie Lofgren is relaying her experiences with LGBTQ microaggressions and exchange student Azat Toroev will be bringing awareness to disability rights issues. Many others from the Chicagoland area will also be talking about topics from dentistry to storytelling.
Why North Park? NPU is a place that embraces change, a place that harbors the shifting paradigms of life and slows them down to a pace that is manageable for our expenditure. For this reason, North Park is a place that is perfect to hold such an event. “North Park University is a place where everyone has an idea but not many opportunities to share those ideas. TED gives the community an opportunity for those ideas to be pushed out through all channels.”, Donielle Alicea.
Not only is our campus an exceptional place to hold a TEDx event, it is a campus that is in need of this type of intellectual rejuvenation. We as members of the collegiate system sometimes get caught up in the everyday challenges of keeping up with workloads and attaining merits that we lose sight of the original intention for college: A meeting place for the best and brightest to coalesce and cultivate their understanding of the world. TEDx NPU is a way for us a community to come together to display all that we can do. With it, we will hopefully be able to create a tradition of a society dedicated to the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge. As summed up by Ortiz, “[TEDx is] Change. It’s about looking for truth through sharing ideas.”