TEDx a Rye twist on popular talks

In Business & Technology /

By Matthew Braga
Biz & Tech Editor

TED is coming to Ryerson — but with a decidedly local twist.

The popular, annual conference brings together speakers in such fields as technology, entertainment and design to share their ideas with attendees.

Now, TEDx — an independently organized TED-styled conference — is being launched at Ryerson University for the very first time.

“When I started last year at Ryerson, I read about all these people doing amazing things,” explained event curator and second-year student Parvinder Sachdeva. “If it’s my school, I should know about them first.”

It’s not quite the real TED experience some may expect, but as Sachdeva points out, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

For one, attending an official TED conference is often prohibitively expensive — at least $6000 — but there’s more to it than that.

The line-up, including staff, students and alumni drawn from Ryerson’s many faculties, was handpicked by Sachdeva and the TEDx Ryerson team to showcase a different side of the Ryerson community.

Among them is former Canadian Auto Worker’s president Buzz Hargrove, and CBC journalist and Ryerson alumni Peter Nowak.

But traditionally, TED speakers have often been experts in their respective fields of study, which might have some questioning the inclusion of student speakers.

However, Sachdeva points out that the only real TED requirement is that speakers have an idea worth sharing.

“Anybody can inspire your future. It can be a prof who’s achieved so much in his field already, or it could be a student who is just starting to achieve all these great things.”

Compared to official TED-sanctioned talks, format and guidelines will stay the same. 18 minutes will be allotted for each speaker, with the opportunity to mingle and converse with other attendees following the talk — who, hopefully, will have their own ideas to share.

“You don’t need to be an expert to spread an idea. You don’t need to have done great things,” explained Sachdeva.

“Inspiration comes from within.”

Photo: Winston Chow/TEDx Ryerson

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