It’s almost time for TEDxUSF

Whether it’s a classmate, an instructor or a university employee, there could be someone at USF with revolutionary ideas about changing the way the world works. 

However, chances are slim others will ever hear their thoughts if they don’t have an audience to present their ideas to.

USF will soon host its third TEDxUSF, an event featuring eight speakers from the USF community who will speak about topics or issues ranging from organic agriculture to transgender identity, as well as two live musical performances.

The conference will be a local version of a TED event, which is a global conference focused on promoting ideas through short impactful speeches known as TED Talks. 

Mallory Trochesset is associate director of USF’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement (CLCE) and the 2015-2016 TEDxUSF curator. She said TEDxUSF is unique from other university-hosted speeches and lectures because it provides USF professors, alumni and students a way to present innovative ideas to the rest of the USF community.

“When I think about Bill Nye or some of the great lectures we’ve had here — those are very well-known people,” Trochesset said. “What I think is so special about this event is it brings together talent from our own USF community … who have these amazing ideas about how to make changes in our world but don’t always have the platform to share those ideas.”

One speaker, Terrell Foster, is a senior in the College of Nursing and a medic in the U.S. Air Force Reserves. Trochesset said Foster’s talk, “We Could Be Heroes,” will focus on how USF students can become heroes in unconventional ways.

Another speaker, USF Assistant Professor of Sociology and Latin American Studies Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, is researching modern slavery and human trafficking in Brazil and the U.S. Her book, “The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families” is slated for publication in November and shares the name of her talk.

USF alumnus Ryan Iacovacci currently gardens at a small urban farm in New Port Richey, Florida, where he grows and sells food and helps his neighbors to grow food using organic farming and permaculture practices. His talk is named “Beyond Big Ag, Beyond Civilization.”

Speakers Samira Obeid, a USF alumna and associate professor of sociology, and affiliate faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies Sara Crawley will give a joint talk called “We Are All Trans.” Obeid is an activist with Equality Florida, a civil rights advocacy group, and a spoken word poet dealing with sexuality, gender, citizenship and immigration issues. 

Crawley has completed research and is published on gender, sexualities, social psychology, feminisms, and queer theory.

The deadline for student host applications is Sept. 25, and top candidates will be invited to a live audition with the TED Talks Affairs Team.

Trochesset said about 40 students have already applied to volunteer and help run TEDxUSF. She said student volunteers will help with a variety of tasks during the event, including audience check-in, seating people as they enter the ballroom and managing speakers by helping them get on and off stage.

“They’re getting exposure to TEDxUSF so they can apply for our committee next year and help be a part of planning TEDxUSF in 2016,” she said.

Student volunteers will be selected throughout September.

Because Student Government sent a TEDxUSF staff member for training through a TED program this year, Trochesset said, event organizers were also able to increase the previous maximum audience size of 100.

“We are planning for a 500-person audience … and that will be 80 percent students and 20 percent community members, so you’re looking at 400 seats for our students,” she said. “Hopefully, in future years we can grow beyond that.”

Like other TED events, TEDxUSF will feature a curated lineup of speakers and a curated audience. This means speakers and audience members have been selected by event organizers, and the USF community audience will need to fill out a registration form through BullSync to demonstrate why they are interested in TEDxUSF and what they can contribute to the event. 

Selected audience members have four days to accept their invitation before it is forfeit to another person, and the ticketing process begins Oct. 1.

Trochesset said the event will also be recorded live and later edited and uploaded to the TEDx YouTube channel per the TEDxUSF licensing agreement. As a result, audience members will need to commit to staying for the entire event lasting from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., as Trochesset said audience members leaving and entering the ballroom would be too distracting for the recording.

“It’s just a real unique experience to be a part of a live production where we’re hearing from our own community about what they are passionate about in this world,” she said. “I think it’s worth the time to spend and block off for this event.”

TEDxUSF 2015 will be Nov. 18 in the MSC Ballroom. Visit for more information on volunteering, hosting or getting a ticket.