The Gustavian Weekly

TEDx conference moves to larger venue: Gustavus’s annual conference continues to grow, this year featuring the theme “Life on Purpose”

By Theodore Blenkush - Staff Writer | March 10, 2017 | News

Last year’s Tedx speakers brought a large crowd. Organizers of the event have moved this years conference to a larger venue.

Last year’s Tedx speakers brought a large crowd. Organizers of the event have moved this years conference to a larger venue.

Gustavus students and alumni will convene in Minneapolis to attend the fourth annual TEDx conference hosted and prepared by the college.

TEDxGustavusAdolphusCollege will be presented at the American Swedish Institute (ASI), a location in the Twin Cities where Gustavus holds many admissions and relations events. In previous years, the conference has taken place on campus at the Wallenberg Auditorium but the continued success of TEDx prompted a larger venue.

The urban placement of the ASI was intended to attract the large and local Gustavus alumni population.

“We were interested in taking it on as a way to showcase the great talent within the Gustavus community, and we wanted to use it as an engagement strategy in the Twin Cities,” Assistant Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Angela Erickson said.

Under the TED licensing, individual conferences are restricted to only having up to one hundred paid registrants. Conferences can apply for a larger license, but it requires sending a representative to the TED organization, a move which Erickson predicts might be taken in the future. Tickets for the conference sold out very quickly, and many tickets were compensated or made free in order to accommodate everyone.

The partnership between the college and the TED organization offers greater recognition and accessibility for the event. While no funding is provided, recordings of the presentation are added to the TED website collection to be later viewed and shared.

The central theme titled, “Life On Purpose”, will be discussed by seven speakers. Two Gustavus faculty were invited to participate and Gustavus alumni were given the opportunity to submit their own names or suggestions.

Over 40 proposals from the alumni association were received and evaluated.

“Our committee reviewed all those submissions and tried to find a wide variety of topics within that greater theme that would appeal to a general audience,” Erickson said.

Professor of Tennis and Sports Ethics in Philosophy Tommy Valentini will be giving his talk on the importance of finding purpose in playing sports and how character development should be pursued.

“I think one of the common misconceptions in our sport culture is that sport automatically builds better character and people. Sport can be a great context for people to develop in a myriad of ways, and if we want the moral education components of sport to happen, it has to be done on purpose,” Valentini said.

Assistant Professor of Art and Art History Betsy Byers will discuss her own artwork and experiences in relation to living with greater sense and awareness. “What I’m hoping to talk about is moving beyond the senses of vision, sight, and sound, and thinking about the encompassing experience of being present in the world and what that unlocks for people,” Byers said.

Valentini and Byers will be accompanied by five other speakers: Bethany Ringdal ‘11, a student at Luther Seminary; Beth Luwandi Lofstrom ‘92, a private practicing psychotherapist; Dave Kamper ‘96, an organizer for the American Labor Movement; Sheila McNellis Asato ‘82, a lecturer at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota; and Michael Walters, President of studio503, Vice President and National Account Director of the Coin-Tainer Company.

TEDxGustavusAdolphusCollege will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.