TEDx Calvin promotes a community of ideas


Photo courtesy of Calvin College Livestream

Selvi Bunce, senior, delivering her TEDx speech "Adapting to Change."

Calvin community members united at the TEDx Calvin College event on Saturday, March 2, to discuss a series of topics addressing leadership, philanthropy, adapting to change and prayer. TEDx Calvin College is a student organization hosted this event supported by TED.

TEDx events are modelled after TED events which bring speakers together to share “Ideas worth spreading” the event sought to “to spark deep discussion and connection.”

Speakers included students, faculty and members of the community.

Stephanie Jones, author of the book “The Giving Challenge,” gave a speech on an experiment she conducted in her own life. Jones had challenged herself to intentionally give one gift a day to one person who entered into her life. She originally just meant to keep up this challenge for a few weeks, but eventually continued it for over 500 days.

Jones recounted gifts she gave of cookies or notes. She also said that, “Sometimes it’s just offering; that’s the gift.”

Ben Lichtenwalner, creator of Modern Servant Leader, a Top 30 leadership blog, spoke about social media’s role in promoting goodness in the world. He noted the effectiveness of movements like #MeToo and Black Lives Matter and challenged the audience to confront evil wherever they saw it.

Lichtenwalner stated, “We need to find a way to get more good into more communities.”

Selvi Bunce, senior at Calvin College, gave a speech titled “Adapting to Change” recounting her experiences after an epileptic seizure during the summer after her freshman year. This taught Bunce to take opportunities and make the most of them.

Bunce remarked, “If you want something done, do it yourself.”

During his opening invitation to TEDx Calvin College, JB Britton, the associate dean of campus involvement and leadership and the faculty supervisor of TEDx Calvin College, shared that his favorite aspect of TED events was the way the participants engage in it.

Timothy Dykhuis, a senior, said, “It’s really fun to see Calvin profs and students talk eloquently about what they’re passionate about.”

Andrew Thomas, a junior, was one of these speakers. He spoke on extravagance in prayer and noted that “this [was] an opportunity to share what I feel like has been instilled in me.”

Thomas recalled that his speech on prayer that he presented at the TEDx competition last fall, which awarded the winning speakers to speak at the TEDx event, was originally for a communications final. His professor recommended he participate in the competition, and, as he said, “I went, I gave it, and I won.”

Preparing for the TEDx Calvin College event, Thomas stated, “It’s really given me a new insight into how the refining process can be… I can give my full consciousness to driving and still recite my speech.”

After speaking, Thomas said, “You can’t say you’re not kind of confident when you’re done. Because, like, I just gave a TED[x] talk.”

The audience in the crowded lobby lingered after all of the speeches were done, congratulating the speakers, seeking further insight into their topics, and discussing with other people about which speeches were their favorites.

Dykhuis stated, “I think it’s met my expectations. It lives up to the TEDx label.”