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Ursinus’s First TEDx Event Explores “A Race Against Time”

TEDxUrsinusCollege, part of the grassroots initiative that seeks to research and discover “ideas worth spreading,” is the result of a student-led effort that will culminate in a virtual event on April 24.

Climate change and endangered languages are among the topics of the daylong program, which will also examine the history of racial politics and the role of technology as a tool for storytelling over time.

Sponsored by the college’s Bonner leaders, the event came about through the work of many volunteers, including members of UCARE (Ursinus Center for Advocacy, Responsibility and Engagement).

“This event really encompasses most of the things we try to do in the Bonner program: collaboration, conversation, and connection, to name a few,” said Emily Harris ’21, a Bonner leader who double-majors in psychology and international relations. “This event is important to me because it helps to illuminate the similarities in seemingly diverse subject areas.”

Volunteers, driven by a Google document that now boasts 25 pages, have been working since the fall to bring the event to life.

“We started with the ideas that we wanted to include on the theme, ‘A Race Against Time,’ so we were looking for a mix of science and technology, and also art and humanities. I immediately thought of sea-level rise and climate change,” said environmental studies major and Bonner leader Hannah Merges ’21. “This is the first TEDx to be hosted at Ursinus, and I think it is a really great opportunity for a lot of people both in our community and the larger public to come together and hopefully learn something new.”

Sessions, which run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with break-out rooms scheduled throughout the day, include:

“Storytelling + Technology: The Gateway to the Cannon of our History?” with Kwaku Aning, director of the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking at the San Diego Jewish Academy.

“How Climate Change Is Affecting Our World’s Water” with Ben May, founder and president of ThinkOcean; global policy coordinator for Zero Hour; and ocean policy advisor for the Youth Ocean Conservation Summit.

“Why College and Universities Are Inherently Racist…and What to Do About It” with Jasmine Harris, an associate professor of sociology whose research, writing, and teaching focus on the impacts of racism and racial inequality on Black communities and Black people as individuals, particularly when living and working in predominantly white institutional settings.

“Endangered Languages” with Daniel Bögre Udell, a historian, TED Resident, and cofounder of Wikitongues who speaks English, Spanish, Catalon and Portuguese.

The event also features existing TEDx presentations, including “The Pride and Power of Representation in Film” with director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians); “Climate Change Will Displace Millions—Here’s How We Prepare” with climate justice and human rights lawyer Colette Pinchon Battle; “The Racial Politics of Time” with cultural theorist Brittney Cooper; “Why Do I Make Art? To Build Time Capsules for My Heritage” with filmmaker and musician Kayla Briët; and “The Unforeseen Consequences of a Fast-paced World” with anthropologist Kathryn Bouskill.

To register and learn more, visit the TEDx Ursinus College website and follow @tedxursinuscollege on Instagram.