UT students organize TEDx event, aimed at inspiring change

Bharath Lavendra

UT students and alumni came together to bring TEDx back to campus with TEDxSpeedwayPlaza on Saturday. 

TED is an organization aimed at spreading ideas through conferences and talks, according to its website. TEDx events are independently organized conferences that “create a TED-like event,” and have occurred all over the world. Speakers at TEDxSpeedwayPlaza included management information systems lecturer Clint Tuttle, who discussed how not be afraid of failure, and Ziyaad Khayrattee, a finance and Plan II senior, who talked about how educational reform is possible in the U.S., as well as other speakers.

Usama Malik, a UT alumnus and one of the leading organizers for the event, said the theme of the day’s conference was inspiring change. Malik said the organizers wanted to convince attendees that they can make an impact as well.

“We have a lot of different topics that we want people to engage with and see how in different fields, change is tangible and real, not just idealist,” Malik said. “We want to show people whether its refugees, social justice, education — there are elements that we can change, and we don’t have to think that its too big of a problem or too big of an issue for us to take a part of. We as individuals, whoever attended the TEDx event, can be agents of change.”

Hamaila Qureshi, a UT alumna and former president of the UT organization Liberty in North Korea, spoke at the event about refugees and how people can help change how refugees are perceived. 

“We think change is this long process, but really it’s small things over a long period of time that make the biggest change,” Qureshi said. “That’s really important in terms of refugees because there is a refugee crisis going on right now. There is such a negative narrative that we need to change how our society perceives refugees, and ultimately that will help them thrive in our society.”

Maryam Ogunbiyi, a Plan II and international relations and global studies senior, attended the event and said she enjoyed the talks and felt more need to take action after hearing the speakers.

“Words are important, but you also have to do something behind it,” Ogunbiyi said. “You can share an article about institutionalized racism or something like that, but you also need to work towards how you can work to change that.”