Sunday October 18, 2015

Beyond Campus-Tedx Dayton

By Noelle Jacobs

Every college campus has a bubble, so here at Dayton, we are considered to be in this “UD bubble.” This means that here on campus, we are blocked off from the real world outside with perceived limited opportunities to get off campus and experience things outside of campus. I try to challenge this idea of a college experience confined within the property lines of the University and experience other things to get more learning and experiences. This isn’t to say the University encourages that we stay on campus, it’s actually the complete opposite, it’s just that it’s easy and convenient to do so and quite honestly, people are busy with classes, clubs and friends so there isn’t a lot of time to get out of their apartments and dorms to do something else. And while the university does provide so many opportunities to experience things like seeing the Pope and going on meaningful retreats, sometimes it’s good to find something a little different.

I heard about the Tedx event from a friend in one of my classes, so yes it was still an opportunity presented to me because I go to such a wonderful University, but it wasn’t affiliated. So, my said friend, boyfriend, and I decided we would go. We bought tickets weeks prior and before we knew it, the day rolled around. The drive to downtown Dayton was fast and easy unlike our parking garage troubles with a cash collector not wanting to accept even the crispest bills, so we had to find other parking, but that didn’t stop us from being excited for an opportunity that would no doubt expand our minds and perhaps change our perspectives.

By 9:00 we were seated and ready to listen to the speakers. Before any talks, we were informed by the directors that the theme of this Ted event was “RE.” So, RE-thinking, RE-evaluating, RE-flecting and a variety of other verbs. This already planted in me some excitement because I knew that because of this, what was to follow would be fresh, new, relevant, and would get me thinking. With that, the first speaker, Katrina Kittle, was introduced. A novelist, who also teaches creative writing, discussed how our “broken places” can be used for good. In her case, the fractures in her life have helped her empathize with her fictional characters and therefore create more human-like and relatable figures in her novels. After this talk, I knew that we were in for a good day. The next speakers ranged from discussing where our insights come from and how growing up in an impoverished community helped shaped personality to the relationship and trust between police officers and civilians and how just like life, even death can be beautiful. After these talks, my mind was already reeling and reflecting on what I had just heard, which was perfect because it was break time where we were instructed to RE-locate ourselves in the theatre to gain a very literal and physical new perspective.

After break, we heard from a very well-traveled 10th grader discussing what sets him apart as a street photographer in a society where everyone and anyone can whip out their iPhone to take pictures. We heard about how we need to make the internet more sustainable, how we need to look at the possibility of artificial intelligence as one of great opportunity for good doing and global progression and unity, and how we must start making water a priority in making sure that we are being smart about waste and chemicals. Then we heard from Chinonye Chukwu, who is a filmmaker and professor at Wright State University. She shared with us her personal story about the moment in her life when she chose to stop merely existing and chose to live. With her gripping and heart wrenching story of attempted suicide, we also got a look into her passion for filmmaking and how it helped her realize that the greater and more rewarding things in life were not material possessions or success, but rather the passion and joy you get out of doing something you love.

We then had lunch break where we were encouraged to meet new people and mingle. At our table, we met people of different backgrounds and had good discussion about the talks we had already heard. After lunch, the speakers continued. We learned about changing perspectives, the importance of getting to know one’s customer in entrepreneurship and business, how getting back in touch with nature and playing outside can teach us lessons, releasing our inner selves in order to do good for our communities, re-thinking poverty as the lack of relationships instead of the lack of money, and how we must start looking at the children as victims in homes riddled with domestic violence. The last talk was very powerful and was given by Matthew Purkey, a veteran, who was trying to encourage people to help veterans use the lessons that they learned in the military for good in local communities once they return from service. This one hit everyone hard and as we all stood for a standing ovation, I think it was clear that we had absorbed every word with concern and consideration.

To say that this was a good experience would be an understatement. I learned so much and was prompted to think about a lot of things that are very relevant for all of us today. The long day of sitting was definitely worth everything. From the thought provoking talks to the entertaining artistic performances that were riddled throughout the day, this was definitely one of the better experiences I have had. So, I strongly and firmly recommend experiencing things outside of the University and your comfort zone.

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