Wellesley College is hosting its third TEDx event


On February 25, 2023, Wellesley College proudly hosted its third official TEDx event with Anne Jiang ’23 (student), EB Bartels ’10 (Senior Editorial Writer in Wellesley College’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs) and Eleanor Dunne ’25 ( student). ), Isabel Flessas ’24 (student), Jasmine Lunia ’26 (student), Kellie Carter Jackson (Michael and Denise Kellen ’68, Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College), Liseli Fitzpatrick (Lecturer in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College), Lucy Goldberg ’25 (student) and Sarah Wells-Moran ’22 (glaciologist). The theme was coalescence, chosen by Jaime Tracewell ’23, the event’s primary student organizer.

Noting that many in-person events have had fewer in-person attendees, whether because an online component is available or people simply prefer to attend events virtually, Tracewell said, “We’ve also seen an increase in incidents where people are meeting are afraid to talk to each other for fear of hurting others’ feelings or not knowing how to say difficult things.”

“We wanted to host an event that would encourage people to engage in sometimes difficult, yet meaningful and rewarding discussions,” Tracewell said.

Originally the idea of ​​a friend, Tracewell began developing a plan to host a TEDx event at the college during the fall semester of the 2021-22 academic year.

“Unfortunately it takes a couple of months to get you licensed for the event, by then [Tracewell’s friend] was thinking of hosting an event but didn’t have enough time to get the license,” Tracewell said. “You and I hosted a pilot event called Bloom at Wellesley last year, and it was kind of a ‘Wellesley version’ of what could be a TEDx event without an official license. I just went ahead and got licensed from TED last summer and went from there.”

Tracewell worked with the Office of Residential Life and Housing, which sponsored the event. She also worked with Sarah Willis, Events Manager at Wellesley College, and Jarlath Waldron, Director of Educational Media, who helped with seat reservations and other logistical arrangements. Tracewell, Vivien Yin ’25 and Emma Andrew ’25 sat on the selection committee.

“We wanted people who could convey a really wide range of topics. We primarily looked for speakers who had strong theses on ideas that were already quite developed. We also wanted to select a range of speakers who come from different backgrounds and have different public speaking experiences. Pretty much every speaker was someone who had a unique experience or a unique perspective on something that, looking at him, you wouldn’t think to ask,” Tracewell said.

Jin Ryu ’25 attended the TEDx event, initially just because she wanted to attend more events at college, but ended up being “pleasantly surprised” and thoroughly enjoying her experience. Ryu emphasized that the wide variety of topics, from one speaker’s struggle with an eating disorder to another’s experience with pet deaths, added to her enjoyment. From the wide range of topics and speakers from diverse backgrounds to a diverse audience of professors and students, the event brought together the entire Wellesley College community.

“I really liked that there were so many speakers and that they all talked about different topics – things that you wouldn’t normally talk about,” Ryu said. “I think it was a very good and engaging community event for everyone. Even if you don’t know all of them directly or interact with them, you can see how they behave and how they speak.”

Wellesley College previously hosted two TEDx events. Tracewell mentioned that her experience as the primary student organizer for this year’s TEDx Wellesley College event was “definitely a boost and stressful at times.” However, she had overwhelming support from people across campus and encouraged other siblings to look forward to future TEDx Talks or similar events.

“The goal is for this to become a student organization and happen annually, which would be possible since anyone can own the TEDx license,” Tracewell said. “Becoming a student organization would also help with funding as we could get funding through SOFC rather than hoping for a department to sponsor us. I have high hopes that people will get excited about this event and want it to continue.”

As someone who is “goal driven and has long depended on the college’s academic structure for a source of confidence,” Tracewell said organizing the TEDx event was such a big boost of confidence because she now knows she can do things that they are passionate about outside of the confines of an academic institution. Tracewell urged anyone interested in helping make TEDx events a regular occurrence at Wellesley College to contact her at jt2@wellesley.edu.

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