TEDx amplifies “Voices of Change” at CSUMB

Finding an opportunity to amplify your voice about an unrepresented topic can be hard to come by. TEDx overcomes this by offering students a stage to speak their minds in a professional setting. Coordinator Dan Burfeind “believes in ideas worth sharing.” 

On Oct. 20, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) hosted its second annual TEDx CSU Monterey Bay (CSUMB) event with the theme, “Voices of Change.” TEDx differs from a TED Talk, as it’s meant to focus on a local area and highlight its community; a nice nod to the first TED conference in 1984, which happened in the Monterey Conference Center. 

The Otter Student Union ballroom was decked out with purple lighting and the iconic red carpet on the stage. Speakers at this event ranged from CSUMB students to faculty members with their doctorates. The 13 speeches varied in topics such as personal journeys, exploration, science and the environment.

Dozens of students and family members attended the event to support their friends and/or family, many bringing big smiles and bouquets of flowers to show their love. “I have two friends who are doing TEDx talks and coming sounded really fun,” said fourth-year Cydney Gaither.

Other students came to listen to their professors, with two professors giving talks about “What If? scenarios” and “Perfect love.” One first-year transfer student who attended the event, Dolores Marquez, said “my teacher (Shannon Snapp) is presenting, and I’m here supporting her.” Marquez also mentioned, “I’m so excited for this opportunity. I feel like [TEDxCSU Monterey Bay is] a collaboration for everyone to unite, hear different perspectives, expand and grow. I’m excited to be a part of this.”

Getting up on stage is never easy but the students presenting were eager to get their voices heard. “I’m really excited for people to hear [my talk], every one of these talks are so amazing – they all have an important message about change and it’s just something that people really should hear,” said Emma Buehler, a first-year psychology major.

Buehler also described the process of preparing to speak at this event; “[Us speakers] had multiple meetings we went to, and we all kind of collaborated together and discussed [our topics] to improve each other’s speeches.” Students submitted the first drafts of their speeches in Sep., and then collaborated until it was time to step on stage. It was clear new friendships had been formed between the speakers, with fist bumps and cheers shared afterward.

Professor Snapp, gave insight into the creative process of preparing her speech. “The process was actually really cool; I would wake up in the middle of the night and have a lot of creative ideas, and sometimes images. I would ferociously write them down in the middle of the night and then come back to them in the morning and see if it made sense, and it did.” Snapp teaches the “How to Love” course at CSUMB and wishes “to inspire people to think differently about what we can do to address some of our most pressing issues of today.”

Burfeind, CSUMB’s TEDx senior coordinator, believes sharing important messages through TEDx Talks is a great way for students to make their voices heard. “As an educator, I really love TEDx Talks as a way of learning. [It’s a way] to share one specific idea and be extremely passionate about it. I think that’s something our students and our community have. They have that energy, they have those passion points and so providing this formal experience for them [is beneficial].” 

Participating in a TEDx event is something worth sharing, as Burfeind tells the speakers to put this on their LinkedIn pages. “Something that is really exciting for me is that [when] the students walk away from this, I tell them … this is yours,” he said. “‘This is your product and I want you to share this. This is who you are.’”

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