Looking to bring strong ideas and influential speakers to Mississippi State University, student organizers of TEDx at MSU have coordinated the university’s first TEDx conference. It will be from 4 to 9 p.m. April 5 in the Union Dawg House.

TED, a nonprofit, developed as a conference in 1984 where topics such as technology, entertainment and design united. Today, the conference covers an array of topics from social issues to science.

TEDx is an independent branch of TED that encourages communities and universities to share experiences and knowledge at a localized level.

Michael Poole, president of TEDx at MSU, said one of the organization’s goals is to provide attendees with a wide range of speakers and topics.

The organization is hosting seven speakers, ranging from students to an Olympic silver medalist. The theme of the conference is “Moving Forward.” Poole said speakers will share about their journey and experiences.

“A lot of our talks will be about ways people have experienced tragedy and have moved passed that, or even ways that our society as a whole can move forward,” Poole said.

Poole said he hopes speakers are relatable to attendees.

“Diversity is one of our goals,” Poole said.

Poole said he is looking to not only engage the university, but the community as well.

“I think it is important to provide an example to the community of how it doesn’t matter where you come from or what your background is, you can end up successful in this life,” Poole said.

Poole said he is looking forward to sharing the value that TED conferences bring to students and the community.

“It’s a fairly renown program, and I feel like if we can put on a really good conference this year, then people will know how important TED is,” Poole said. “That’s what I’m really excited for.”

Avery Ferguson, vice president of TEDx at MSU, said she is excited about the platforms the speakers have to share their stories.

“People get an opportunity to share things that they think people should know about, learn about and they’re passionate about,” Ferguson said. “It’s a really big audience they get to reach.”

Ferguson said speakers will have the opportunity to share their stories with audiences beyond the TEDx conference as talks will be uploaded to the TEDx YouTube channel, which has millions of followers.

Ferguson also said the TEDx conference is an opportunity for students to network and collaborate with other students.

“It’s a way to meet people and learn new things in a way not the same as taking a class,” Ferguson said. “It’s a little more personable because you’re hearing from someone who’s experienced something and has committed their time to their ideas.”

Ferguson said the organization is interested in the growth of the TEDx conferences, and hopes students will join their interest meeting in the fall.

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