TEDx intended for 'rebuilding' city of Tuscaloosa

TEDx is coming to Tuscaloosa this year with the aim of inspiring and reinvigorating the community through one larger event and four smaller events each year as planned.

TEDx is an offshoot of TED, a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short lectures. TED began in 1984 as a conference to converge technology, entertainment and design. Today TED covers almost all topics, from science to business to global issues, in more than 100 languages.

“Tuscaloosa is a city on the rise, ” said Andrew Richardson, the head organizer of TEDxTuscaloosa. “After enduring one of the worst tornadoes in modern history, Tuscaloosa turned a major disaster into an amazing opportunity. The city is becoming more beautiful than it ever has been, and the community has really come together to make this happen. I see TEDxTuscaloosa as another piece of the rebuilding of Tuscaloosa. As a city, we are more united than ever, and sharing new ideas through a TEDx event is another step toward a greater Tuscaloosa.”

TEDxTuscaloosa is aimed at both the greater Tuscaloosa community and the University of Alabama community. The series will be held to all of the rules set up by the TED organization, and the committees intend to recreate the TED atmosphere as much as possible. 

TEDxTuscaloosa consists of a group of around 10 volunteers, including faculty and staff of the University, as well as a few students. Volunteers work in specific roles such as communication or event management,

“The people involved are the most impressive part of TEDxTuscaloosa,” Richardson said. “Everyone involved with TEDxTuscaloosa is a volunteer. Nobody is paid, not even our speakers. Everyone is devoting their free time to make the event happen, and they do it for no other reason than that they believe in the idea of sharing great ideas. So funding is the most difficult challenge, as we still have to pay for our venue, food and more.”

TEDxTuscaloosa is currently planning to hold its first major event in April at the Tuscaloosa River Market. The exact date and time will be announced at a later date.

In addition, the committee has planned to begin preparations for TEDxTuscaloosaSalon later in 2015. The Salon will be a series that occurs more regularly, likely four times a year.

“I want to be part of something that will help play a role in the growth and development of Tuscaloosa,” said Brett Jaillet, media coordinator for TEDxTuscaloosa. “There are so many ideas in our community waiting to be shared, and this is a great time to share them. I hope this event can contribute to its increasing development.”

Richardson said he hopes TEDxTuscaloosa can encourage conversations and ultimately lead to great changes for the community. 

Applications to be speak at the April TEDxTuscaloosa can be submitted on the TEDxTuscaloosa website. Faculty, staff and students are all encouraged to apply to be one of the eight speakers. Applications will be accepted through the end of January.

Tickets for TEDxTuscaloosa will be limited and available by application only through the TEDxTuscaloosa website. Prices are not yet set, though some tickets will be set aside at a reduced rate for students. More information on ticket purchasing will be available at the end of January.

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