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TED Comes to USF


It's one of the biggest speaking series in the country, drawing such major names as Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, and Bono. Now TED is coming to the University of South Florida with its TEDxUSF event, "On the Edge of the Future," Friday night at the School of Music.

While TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment and Design," the concept has grown to include philanthropists, religious leaders, and musicians. It originated in the 1980s in Silicon Valley, and now includes a pair of major conferences in California.

Speakers give 18 minute long talks on "ideas worth sharing" -- an idea or concept they're passionate about, in hopes of motivating their audience.

Jennifer Espinola, Director of USF's Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement and the TEDxUSF Coordinator, has wanted to bring TED to campus for a while.

“This has been a dream for a long time, I’ve been a TED enthusiast for many years, I’ve used the videos in my own classes and for programs with our students.”

There will be 11 speeches -- nine speakers affiliated with the university: faculty members, graduate students, an undergraduate, a member of the Board of Trustees and one alumna.

"For our faculty and staff and students to be able to say that they’ve given a TEDx talk is a really powerful thing," said Espinola, who adds that they'll discuss a variety of subjects.

"Sustainability, human capital, food waste, live music performances, treatments for Alzheimer’s—it’s really an incredibly diverse group of very important topics that we think are on the cutting edge of issues that our society faces right now."

There will also be two taped speeches from the TED.com library. According to TEDxUSF officials, the 'x' means it's an independently organized event that received a license and guidance from the TED organization.

Over 700 people applied for tickets to see the sold-out TEDxUSF event live at the USF School of Music. A number of free watch parties, including some open to the public, will be taking place around campus starting at 5 p.m. Friday. The event will be also streamed live at new.livestream.com/tedx/usf.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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