Jordan Sosa and Peyton Manning hosted the event.

Tulsa at the heart of 2019’s TEDx Tulsa

The annual event welcomed TU students and faculty with levels of connectivity between speakers.

TEDx UTulsa, the University of Tulsa’s own independent, student-led and organized TED event. This TEDx event, themed “Connect the Dots,” was an opportunity to listen to many speakers from Tulsa talk about their experiences, research and actions that tackled local or global issues.

Darcy Elmore, Senior Organizer stated that “As a born and raised Tulsan, being able to spread TED’s mission of “sharing ideas” with my home and the community that I love so much has been an incredible honor — and a highlight of my senior year.”

Jonathan Neff presented on culinary inclusion. photos by Conner Maggio

Many of the talks were fantastic and brought up ideas and concepts that were brand new to me. The first talk by Jonathan Neff brought up gluten-intolerance and how he was inspired to brew his own gluten-free beer. Abigail Williams brought Irish dance to the stage and explained why she was captivated by it and why it is important.

Abigail Williams demonstrated the importance of Irish dancing in her talk. photos by Conner Maggio

Weston Horn talked about how he conquers oversaturation with his band in an already oversaturated market, and then he played a few songs for the crowd. Caroline Bennett presented some amazing poetry about black girls’ identity. These talks might not seem to have much in common, but there was art involved in each one that made it special to the audience and presenter.

Caroline Bennett gave a poetic discussion on black women’s empowerment. photos by Conner Maggio

The best part about TEDx UTulsa was how local all the people and ideas are. Most speakers were from Tulsa or live here now, and subsequently, their research and things they have experienced happened in Tulsa. So when Maureen Haynes talks about Oklahoma school teacher walkouts, for example, you know what she is saying has merit and has personally affected her. Since talks like this will be available online, I suggest checking out any that interest you on the TEDx YouTube page.

photos by Conner Maggio

Since the event was titled “Connect the Dots,” the audience was intended to make connections between the ideas presented. My takeaway is mainly the connection between Tulsa and the world, from the extremely local neighborhood backyard to global economic powers. From the stories told by Kirk Wester about living in a poor neighborhood and doing all you can to help; Eric Cullen’s talk about Oklahoma’s female incarceration epidemic, in which Oklahoma has had the highest rate for over five years; and Mike Haskins’s talk on how debate helps his students at Will Rogers Junior High and how debate can help everyone. Haynes additionally spoke about why Oklahoma school teachers are protesting and why they feel betrayed and angered by the Oklahoma government.

Lydia Cheshewalla discussed how to be a better global citizen. photos by Conner Maggio

This TEDx event reminded me of Tulsa’s place in the world. Now if you have watched all the TED talks, I expect your takeaway to be completely different. Mine was a reflection of what interested me the most and what had the biggest effect on my thinking. Tulsa is my home, so each individual issue that Tulsa has becomes important to me. Many of these talks raised great points, but it is up to us to connect the dots and bring what we learn to our daily lives.

Elmore further commented “I believe ‘TEDxUTulsa: Connect the Dots’ went extremely well. We accomplished all of the goals we set out in early fall when we began planning! However, as a team we believe there is always room to improve and I will be excited to see what the next generation of the TEDxUTulsa crew will do in 2020.”

Post Author: Conner Maggio