A TEDx conference highlighting student ideas and innovation will be hosted on the University of New Brunswick Fredericton campus for the third consecutive year.
TEDxUNB is an independently organized TED event. TEDx talks happen all over the world and aim to give a “TED-like” experience to its participants, while the “x” refers to the independent nature of the program.
Co-chairs Craig Fernandez and Sydney Rankin are the head organizers for this year’s TEDx event on April 7, leading a team of six other student volunteers. TEDxUNB began in 2013 and Fernandez and Rankin are seeking to make the conference an annual tradition.
The focus of any TEDx event is to assemble the best minds in a local area and share ideas that could create positive change in the community or inspire others.
Rankin said TEDxUNB is one of the few opportunities on campus for students to have a large platform for their ideas.
“I think university as it exists, needs more opportunities to step outside of the classroom and separate from the sort of transactional side of learning,” Fernandez said.
Learning can be channeled in many ways, and while students are used to the classroom setting, Fernandez emphasized that more learning outside of the traditional model is a great addition. According to Fernandez, TEDx learning is much more discussion-based and holistic.
Rankin said TED event rules are strict and guidelines must be followed to keep the TED name and branding associated with the event. The guidelines also specify that TEDxUNB can and must have 6 to 8 speakers, and also allows for various interactive “activities.” No more than 100 people can be invited to attend, to maintain the relevancy of video-sharing.
Featured speakers at TEDxUNB are from the greater Fredericton community and beyond.
This year, speaker director Jackson Weir has been pushing the limits on the TEDx team. While faculty, community members and anyone with an interesting idea can speak, TEDxUNB is a completely student-run event.
“Working with students is a very special opportunity that you get in university,” Fernandez said.
The TEDxUNB team has students from “kinesiology, engineering, science, business, and more.”
The TEDxUNB event focuses on this interdisciplinary theme. Student delegates themselves are from diverse backgrounds, which leads to much cross-disciplinary discussion.
“It’s interesting when you hear an engineer who’s passionate about a topic and almost battling it out with a history major,” Rankin said. “You hear them find these niches where they really agree, and how they’re looking at something through a new perspective.”
Editor's Note: A previous version of this article included the incorrect year the first TEDxUNB conference was held. The event started in 2013.