What the TED have I learned

Apr 162012
Authors: Adam Suriel-Gestwicki

Through previous columns, I think the student body has probably concluded that my diet consists of beer, coffee and ibuprofen. Nothing can be further from the truth, since I also have banana pancakes and sausage five times a week (not a joke).

I also appear to have the tendency to highlight that my drunken mishaps and mismanaged inhibitions lead me to some profound insight and ontological view on how to live my life.

The truth is, it’s hard and fairly uninteresting to explain through the medium of an opinion article how invaluable I find my education to be. How in all honesty, I spend more time reading books and writing stories than anything else.

I love to be educated in any fashion I have the opportunity to experience. I don’t mean just lectures and course related reading material, but also being educated from the perspectives, lives and lessons of others.

In a way, it’s humbling to sit down and hear how a personal passion becomes an active agent in framing how a person chooses to live his or her life –– how her or she chooses to affect others through his or her passion.

I was fortunate to work on the TEDxCSU team this year with a wonderful group of students and advisers who wanted to feature the achievements and passions of others here in Fort Collins.

Let me give you a brief background on why you should check out TED.com, and why this event happening next Monday is an excellent way to educate yourself and see how community members have changed the world around them in positive ways.

Any idea –– big or small, individual or group oriented –– has grounds to be on TED.com. The ideas that are presented can be anything, such as “Living Without Boundaries,” a video where Amy Purdy talks about how she lost her legs when she was 19, only to win a world snowboard championship in 2011.

Or it can be about a writer’s perspective of the world; Chris Abani was on death row when he was 16 in Africa and is now a writer in the United States. He starts his video by proposing “We are never more beautiful, when we are most ugly, since that’s when we know what were made of.”

When I first found TED.com, I couldn’t stop finding videos to watch, couldn’t stop learning and expanding my perspective through the knowledge of others. I learned about new technology in Egypt, developments in education in India, and came to the realization that I knew so little about what was happening around me.

Maybe that’s where my love for TED.com came about, since I got to see the world through a multitude of different perspectives and people. This led me to appreciate how unlimited the future is, even through the confines of the ongoing problems and social climates that we arise from today.

Of all things that could’ve happened, it was finding a post on my Facebook feed, asking if anyone wanted to help on bringing a TED event to CSU that led me to be a part of this project. I immediately signed up, working with my two friends, Hannah and Brooke, not fully understanding what I had signed up for.

The event was supposed to be a small, 100 person gathering, hopefully 10 or less speakers, creating an evening with a few drinks, good food and wonderful ideas. Here it is, eight months later and our small, understated function has turned into more than we ever imagined.

The large ballroom at the Lincoln Center, which holds 1,100 people, is almost sold out. We have 13 amazing speakers, catering and free beer. If I weren’t working this event, I may put more emphasis on the free beer and add some exclamation points, though that’s really not the reason you should go or get excited about the event. It is a wonderful fringe benefit, regardless.

I have no doubt in my mind the event is going to be amazing, and everyone who is lucky enough to go is going to take some memorable idea home with them, among other things.

So grab a ticket (if there are any left), go experience another form of informal education like I do when I’m gallivanting through Old Town on the weekends. Only, I’m positive this will be more worthwhile and mentally nourishing than any inebriated night you or I have ever had.

Adam Suriel-Gestwicki is a junior English major. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com.

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