Friday’s TEDx event in Williamson Hall attracted national, regional and local speakers who talked about all things innovation. From lectures on meditation practices to speeches on novel education policies, TEDx speakers shared a variety of ideas worth spreading.
TEDx lectures are independently organized events that bring together bright minds in the fields of technology, entertainment and design.
Congressman Tim Ryan, author of the book “A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance and Recapture the American Spirit,” gave his TED talk on the therapeutic practice of meditation.
Ryan said that TEDx is a positive event for the Youngstown area — a region he believes is “becoming a hub of innovation.”
“Whether it’s three dimensional printing or business and business software, the Youngstown Business Incubator or the Energy Incubator in Warren, … we’re becoming a hub of innovation and a hub of ideas,” Ryan said. “So, it’s natural that TED would be here. It just fits in with our new narrative. Youngstown used to be known as a place that was old school, you know? Old ideas. Out dated. Now, we’re on the cutting edge. … So, I think TED’s a little icing on top.”
Lori Shandor, Youngstown TEDx chairperson, said Williamson Hall served as an ideal site for Friday’s lectures.
“Why YSU? Why not? Where else would we go? I think this is a perfect location for it,” Shandor said. “Being here in the school of business, we had all the sources we needed to get this done, and everybody loves the facility. We’re all in one building. We’re right in the heart of downtown. It’s just an excellent location.”
Shandor said that she organized the TEDx event to encourage fruitful discussions regarding innovative ideas.
“It’s just a matter of connecting what the speaker’s saying with the people in the audience. … It just starts with a thought, it leads to a conversation that moves to a meeting that brings people together and it makes something happen. … That’s what we’re here for,” Shandor said. “Because it’s all about inspiring and sharing these ideas that are worth spreading.”
Friday’s sold-out event featured 18 Ted talks and garnered positive responses from audience members. Diana Awad Scrocco, an assistant English professor, said events like TEDx keep community members attentive to the happenings of the university.
“I really enjoyed listening to [the TED talks],” Scrocco said. “The university is kind of like the intellectual center of this city and so I think the more things we bring in, even if they are not sponsored by YSU, it will keep people interested and engaged.”
Art Byrd, part-time faculty in the department of theater and dance, added that TEDx Youngstown gave both speakers and audience members the chance to talk to one another about important, intellectual concepts.
“I think a lot of people don’t meet each other; I don’t think that people get a chance to talk about that innovation. Here, you get a chance to talk to someone you might not even know,” Byrd said. “So, to bring [TEDx] here — with Youngstown coming up and becoming innovative — is very important.”