TEDxPSU presented speakers whom they --believe are innovators, creators and motivators that share their ideas and stories.
Yesterday in Schwab Auditorium, students, faculty and community members filled the audience to hear 15 speakers at TEDxPSU. The event also featured performances by NOTA, RAM Squad and The Wondershop Showdown. TED talks that are featured on the TED website were interspersed between the speakers at the event.
The first speaker of the day, Dan Thurmon, emphasized the importance of living life “off balance on purpose.” Thurmon incorporated acrobatics and juggling into his talk.
“If you limit yourself to what’s comfortable, you deny yourself what’s possible,” Thurmon said.
Thurmon, a dynamic speaker, impressed the audience by juggling knives on a unicycle. TEDxPSU host Rob Andrejewski commented after Thurmon’s talk.
“From now on, it’s a prerequisite for all of our speakers to juggle knives,” he said.
Debbie Sterling spoke about inspiring the next generation of female engineers. To help girls become interested in engineering, she developed GoldieBlox, a toy that combines a construction set with a story book about a girl who has to build things to solve problems.
Sterling said she never felt like she belonged in engineering — a male-dominated field — until GoldieBlox.
“I feel like I belong, and our little girls do too,” she said.
The speakers ranged in professions and interests. There was only one student who spoke at TEDxPSU.
Chad Littlefield, founder of the Clown Nose Club at Penn State, encouraged the audience to take “positive social risks.”
Littlefield (senior- rehabilitation and human services & psychology) had a hula-hoop to represent people’s comfort zones and blocks to represent the worry of rejection and creating an awkward situation. The blocks keep people from moving out of the comfort zones to engage with other people. This is why Littlefield advocates for taking positive social risks.
“When you begin to see people as real people, the barrier that separates us from people begins to disappear,” he said.
Dannah Gresh, sexuality educator and best-selling author, asked the audience to think about tolerance.
She discussed myths surrounding sex in college, the walk of fame vs. the walk of shame and the intolerance of people toward those who choose to remain abstinent.
Gresh said a student asked her, “Why is there tolerance for everything but abstinence here?”
Gresh said that “when you choose to have sex is your choice,” but she supports those who choose to remain abstinent.
“It’s so great, I would call it the walk of fame, ” she said.
Several speakers talked about the importance of art.
International mural artist Michael Pilato, the final speaker, told stories about the moments he experienced with people engaging with his murals.
“I felt the power of art, and I felt art in healing,” he said.
Pilato drew a standing ovation from the crowd after inviting 2013 TEDxPSU co-curator Sean Meadows to place his handprint on part of a mural that Pilato brought with him.
“The presentation by Pilato brought everything together and tied to Penn State” said Spencer Malloy (senior- agroecology & philosophy).