The Gustavian Weekly

First Gustavus TEDx Conference received enthusiastically

By Libby Larson Assistant News Editor | April 25, 2014 | News

Assistant Director for Community-Based Service and Learning Dave Newell speaks at the first Gustavus TEDx Conference. Office of Marketing and Communications

Assistant Director for Community-Based Service and Learning Dave Newell speaks at the first Gustavus TEDx Conference. Office of Marketing and Communications

Gustavus recently served as host and contributor to the globally-renowned organization, TEDx. On April 12, the Center for Servant Leadership (CSL) presented a TEDx program in Wallenberg Auditorium; the first time the event has appeared on campus.

An extension of the TED organization which promotes “Ideas Worth Spreading,” the TEDxGustavusAdolphusCollege event was the result of the efforts of Assistant Director for Community-Based Service and Learning Dave Newell ‘03 and students involved in the Ambassadors program.

The series of eight speakers featured a variety of perspectives focused around the theme, “Creative innovations to address complex problems.”

Those invited included current Gustavus Senior Anna McDevitt, Alumni Dan Currell ‘94, Dean Hyers ‘88, Ellen Ruiters ‘97, and Neal Hagberg ‘81, as well as Mankato native Katie Boone, and Co-Founder of Sovereign Systems Reggie Edwards.

Newell reflected on the variety of individuals invited to speak.

“It was an opportunity for us to honor and highlight their work and give them an opportunity to share it with the world, so to speak, and also a way for us to engage students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community in their work,” Newell said.

Many students and individuals involved with the College attended the event, in addition to members of the local community, and the greater region, including Iowa.

Newell also recognized the contributions of the Gustavus Marketing and Communications Department in promoting the event, as well as CSL Ambassadors, Katey Nelson, Nicole Smetana, Donte Curtis, Mata Agre, Mandy Schlauderaff, and Graduate Intern Matthew Tollefson.

Junior Angela Gewerth also served as a volunteer through the CSL on the day of the conference.

“There was a lot of behind-the-scenes dedication that went on to put this conference on in a relatively short amount of time. They were able to get eight really fantastic and motivated speakers, they transformed Wallenberg, and they got students to help out. So just seeing the whole day in action was really fantastic from start to finish,” Gewerth said.

Student TEDx volunteers (left to right):  Nicole Smetana, Bruno Rocha, Angela Gewerth, Breanna Schlegal, Sarah Barnes, Katey Nelson, Kyle Bright. Submitted

Student TEDx volunteers (left to right): Nicole Smetana, Bruno Rocha, Angela Gewerth, Breanna Schlegal, Sarah Barnes, Katey Nelson, Kyle Bright. Submitted

First-Year Katey Nelson helped organize the event. She created posters and designed the set. In addition to efforts of other students, she invited speakers, obtained sponsorship, and ensured that the day ran smoothly.

“It was so amazing to be a part of an environment where people came together to share their inspiring ideas,” Nelson said.

Both Nelson and Gewerth said that among the messages presented by the diverse speakers, they perceived an overarching theme of the importance of relationships, as well as a focus on dreams and the future.

“There are so many ideas and inspirations out there that we are not aware of, and for somebody so passionate about what they do with their life it’s so cool to see them share that with other people,” Nelson said.

The event was videotaped and the footage will be accessible online after being edited.

“Our hope was that we would not only bring the conference but we would have these [recordings] that would be accessible, and people would use them and have access to them and watch them. The content is really powerful stuff, and it’s people that we know and have access to,” Newell said.

Newell expressed intentions to host additional TEDx events in future years, promoting greater campus involvement.

To view the TEDxGustavusAdolphusCollege footage, visit the TED YouTube channel as well as tedxgustavusadolphuscollege.com.