The fourth annual TEDxACU conference will tackle serious topics, from breast cancer to bullying.
Speakers from the Abilene community, professors, students and others will join together to present talks to the local community from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. March 23 in Fulks Theater. TEDxACU is an independently organized event based on the bigger TED talks that take place around the world. The theme this year is “6 Words,” so each speaker’s talk has a six word title.
Tickets can be purchased online or at the TEDxACU table set up in the Campus Center. They are $20 for ACU students, $30 for ACU faculty and staff, $40 for ACU alumni and $50 for general admission.
Jackie DeMuynck, junior communication major from Cedar Park, is a student committee intern and a part of the TEDxACU Steering Committee who have helped Dr. Lauren Lemley, assistant professor of communication, organize and coordinate TEDxACU this year. The team has been working since December to promote the event, recruit speakers and get it ready for action this year.
“I think TEDx is a really cool opportunity to be involved in this international TED community at a very close to home spot,” DeMuynck said. “Abilene, you wouldn’t really think would have something as big as TED in it, but it’s here and … I think it’s a really cool way for us to engage in conversations that we might not get the chance to engage with.”
Tatiana Cordts, sophomore biology major from Rockwall, was drawn to speak at TEDxACU about her testimony after being encouraged by one of the officers in her social club who is on the board for TEDx. Her talk is titled “Inflammatory Breast Cancer: Rare, Not Impossible.”
“I’m discussing the topic of self-advocation,” Cordts said, “and I’m bringing awareness to a pretty rare disease called inflammatory breast cancer, or IBC, and my mom has it, so obviously it means a lot, and it’s very close to home.”
To speak for TEDxACU, Cordts had to submit a three-minute video, which gave an overview over what she would be discussing, and then wait to hear back until organizers emailed her and let her know she had been accepted to speak.
“It’s an idea worth sharing,” Cordts said. “So it’s basically just to bring awareness about anything and everything that’s important to this day and age in this society… it doesn’t have to be medical or anything, just anything that’s important and could benefit.”
Dr. Steven Moore, associate professor of English, said he had always heard great things about TEDxACU from faculty and students who have participated in the past. Lemley invited him to apply to speak, and several weeks later, he applied.
Moore will speak on the phenomenon of bullying in our culture in his talk titled “And The Tall Trees Were Silent.” He said that bullying seems to be everywhere right now, from elementary schools to colleges, from private schools to public schools, even into the workplace.
After publishing a children’s book titled Theodore Thumbs, which deals with the topic of bullying, Moore was given the opportunity to talk to a number of different schools and conduct workshops and presentations at many different places.
“I know so many people are talking about it, so I thought this would be a very timely topic, and I might as well share what went behind the scenes for me to create that book that I wrote,” Moore said. “Since the theme is all about stories, and it’s about Ernest Hemingway with the shortest story that he’s ever written, I thought this was just a natural fit, so I just decided to go ahead and talk about that children’s story that I created, and then I can just get into the topic of bullying and how bullying affects everyone in this world.”
“I think TEDxACU, their mission is just simply to get speakers, to get authors, to get philosophers, to get musicians, to get all kinds of people from different walks of life to simply share with people in the ACU community and around the world what they love, what they’re passionate about,” Moore said. “And then I think their other purpose is just simply creating awareness on so many issues and topics that people need to hear. So I think it’s twofold. I think that’s why they exist.
“I think it’s so cool, when you look back at some of the things they’ve done, it’s just an incredible collection of all these enticing captivating fascinating topics, very important topics that people need to hear,” Moore said, “and many of these topics try to get people to wake up and to become social activists and to do something about these problems and concerns that are being examined by these speakers.”