TEDx returns to USF, opens application to speakers

TEDxUSF will return Sept. 3 for one night only to feature speakers selected from a pool of student, faculty and staff applicants. SPECIAL TO THE ORALCE/TEDx

After three years without the opportunity, students, faculty and staff will be able to step into the spotlight once again on the TEDxUSF stage to give a speech about the topics they are most passionate about.

The event will take place Sept. 3 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and host about 100 audience members. About 30-40 of the attendees will be invite only and approximately 50 other individuals will be present to run the event, according to co-organizer of the event Kshama Patel. 

The invite-only list will consist of administration and other USF officials, including college deans and USF President Steven Currall.

The budget for the event was $15,000 which will cover all costs such as the organization itself, venue and catering, according to Patel. 

The funding from the event will come from local sponsors in the area including Fusion IT Services, Anonymous Pharmaceutical, Pakmail and Venue at North Campus, according to Patel, and will be supplemented by the price of admission. 

In previous years, USF was unable to host TEDx events because TEDx provides a one-time license to each organizer. After 2018 there was no organizer ready to apply for TEDx at USF, according to Patel.

Now, 50 volunteers have come together to form their own independent group to bring TEDx back to the university, according to Patel.

The event planning began in early May and is still in the works until the big day, according to Patel. The license granted by TED for this event took about a year to recieve, after having to do several months of research, an application and an interview process. 

With this being the first TEDxUSF event in three years, Patel has high hopes the event will reach its goal of allowing all attendees to mingle and meet students with like-minded interests. 

“Our main goal for this event is to network. Networking with other students, network with USF staff such as deans, faculty members and other important people. Network with sponsors, network with the speakers and network with the volunteers,” she said. “We are very excited to see this event come together and actually pull through with our vision.”

The theme for the event is “spotlight,” which will shine a light on students, faculty and staff who are eager to have their voices be heard, according to Patel. To attend the event, individuals must purchase a ticket online, but prices have not been set as of June 15.

Individuals attending USF and interested in speaking need to submit an online application. The application, due June 20, consists of an explanation of the speaker’s topic idea and the best way to implement it as well as general information questions. 

The speaker curation committee will consist of university students who will select speakers based on which ideas they believe are the most inspiring, innovative and actionable to audiences at USF.

Patel said this opportunity can open up several doors for the selected speakers, allowing them to reach millions of people. 

“You actually need to be enthusiastic about getting it out to the world because although you’re only sharing it to the 150 of us in that room, after that we have to upload it to the TEDx site, YouTube and everything, and TEDx has 33.3 million subscribers [on YouTube],” she said. “So you’re getting to share your message to millions of people.” 

In addition to the speakers, there will also be breaks in which there will be entertainment such as music and dancing. An exhibition will also be displayed showing top-tier sponsors. 

This event will not only benefit the speakers at the event but also encourage the USF community, ranging from students to administrators, to interact, according to Patel. 

“The event will bring TEDx back to USF, allowing for students and faculty members to share their ideas, network with knowledgeable individuals and learn from speakers and everyone else in attendance,” she said.