University students share "revolutionary" ideas

University students share
Photo courtesy of Lauren Crawford

Tide Talks, an offshoot of the famed TED Talks, is a student organization on campus that allows current University students to share their expertise or experience on an idea that they are passionate about. While TED Talks believes in "ideas worth spreading," Tide Talks takes that a step further, believing that "ideas are revolutionary."

That is why twice a semester students involved in Tide Talks host talks to promote "real talk, real life, and real students."

This Friday, over 100 students gathered to hear four University students speak. Through speeches about fashion, swimming, media literacy, or private competition's relationship with charity, University students took to the Tide Talks stage to share personal stories and revolutionary ideas on how to better our world. Mixed in with the speeches, were poetic and artistic performances by students. 

Alex Green, the second speaker of the night and a senior studio art major, gave a talk titled, “Making ‘looks’ can be fashionable, sustainable, and artistic.” Green spoke about the transition of a “look” from when Warhol depicted it through his paintings, to modern looks, like in "Ru Paul’s Drag Race." He spoke of the emphasis on perspective and how creativity plays a major role in how each person defines a look.

“I knew I wanted to talk about fashion and art and a combination of creativity," Green said. "I really wanted to express how creativity can be important and tell a lot about yourself."

Green said his background in art history and courses he has taken both at the University and while studying abroad in Switzerland helped him formulate his topic and speech. For Green, speaking at Tide Talks was like checking something off his bucket list. 

“I saw my first Tide Talk and said to myself, ‘I want to do that,’" Green said. "And I also have friends that are involved with it that inspired me to get into it.” 

Another student that spoke was Christopher Reid, a senior majoring in economic forecasting. His powerful story brought tears to the eyes of many audience members. Reid spoke of how the tragic loss of his father to cancer inspired him to persist and work harder than he ever had before. 

"My father was a charismatic character who was loved by everyone and he only wanted the very best for his family," Reid said. "He made it his life mission to beat cancer so he could watch his family grow old and become better members of society... My father made us promise that whatever happened to him, we would continue to work toward our dreams."

Always loving the water, Reid pursued his passion for swimming by taking it to a professional level, knowing it was what his father would have wanted. He eventually accepted his college recruiting offer at the University, and represented team South Africa at the Summer Olympics in Rio.

"I thought this was the perfect opportunity to represent the honor of my father," Reid said. 

Reid finished with a successful swim and a personal success that he knew he could share with those at Tide Talks to hopefully motivate them to take life’s hardships and transform them into victories. 

The two other speakers of night included Marissa Cornelius, a senior majoring in secondary education and social studies, and Jay Herndon, a graduate student majoring in economics, spoke about their specialized topics, incorporating media literacy into the education systems and private competition as an alternative to charity. 

Speakers for Tide Talks are selectively chosen through either nomination or recruitment. 

"We hold a nomination period in which anyone who is interested can nominate themselves, or they can have their friends nominate them," said Lauren Crawford, a senior majoring in economics and finance and the president of Tide Talks. "Then all the nominations we receive, we interview them and choose from there.” 

The requirements include being a current junior or senior undergraduate or graduate student at the University and having a topic that will interest the public. A nomination link is also available at tidetalks.org for students interested in preforming poetry, comedy or music.

Jordan Williams, a sophomore majoring in computer science, was reciting her poetry at another event when someone from the Tide Talks team asked her to perform at Friday's show.

“We have someone on our team who’s responsible on finding [performers]," Crawford said. "We’ll go to a lot of other events on campus and see people [who would fit the part]."

The next Tide Talk event will be Feb. 23. For more information on past and current talks and how to get involved in Tide Talks as a speaker or working behind the scenes, visit tidetalks.org. They can also be found on Instagram at @tidetalks.

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