TED Talks Night: Defining BU Clubs Eloquently

Monday evening in CAS B25, six unrelated student organizations met to share their club missions. Each student group chose one TED talk video that best aligned with the club mission to introduce and share. TED is a nonprofit organization that encourages the exchange of ideas, with over 1,000 TED talks on their website.

The array of groups was as diverse as it gets, including SojournBU; The Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism; the Asian Student Union; the women’s rugby team; the Nanotechnology Club and the Entrepreneurship Club. The event was organized by SojournBU, a Christian group on campus. Event co-organizer Bridget Johnson (CAS ’14) remarked that the purpose of the event is to unite student groups and share inspiration. “This school is so big,” she commented. “I like to know what other people are doing.”

And what are these six clubs doing, judging from the videos they chose to screen?

  1. Sojourn BU
    • TED talk screened: The Power of Vulnerability, Brené Brown
    • What it says about the organization: Brown discusses the “excruciating vulnerability” that one must face in a search for true connection with others. SojournBU is a Christian group that tries to connect with others through service and collaboration in the vein of this vulnerability that Brown addresses.
    • Important idea: “These folks had, very simply, the courage to be imperfect. They had the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because, as it turns out, we can’t practice compassion with other people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly.”
  2. The Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism
    • TED talk screened: Reinventing Feminism, Courtney Martin
    • What it says about the organization: Students at the Center for Gender, Sexuality, and Activism actively work as agents of this modern-age feminism that Martin defines so clearly. Martin’s definition of “intersectionality” clarifies the activism in which the Center is engaged.
    • Important Idea: “So my feminism is very indebted to my mom’s, but it looks very different. My mom says, ‘patriarchy.’ I say, ‘intersectionality.’ So race, class, gender, ability, all of these things go into our experiences of what it means to be a woman.”
  3. Asian Student Union
    • TED talk screened: The Hunt for General Tso, Jennifer Lee
    • What it says about the organization: Lee speaks about the food products that are born from the interplay of Asian cultures in American society. The ASU encourages diverse cultures to meet and share, building a new culture of understanding that has many roots.
    • Important idea: “But, you know, it’s very easy to overlook the smaller characters. For example, like Lem Sen, who introduced chop suey, Chef Peng, who introduced General Tso Chicken, and all the Japanese bakers who introduced fortune cookies…those whose names are forgotten in history can often have had as much, if not more, impact on what we eat today.
  4. Women’s Rugby Team
    • TED talk screened: Why We Do What We Do, Tony Robbins
    • What it says about the organization: Robbins addresses the focus on passion and human emotion that can guide us through adversity. Athletic competition and growth is fraught with challenges that student-athletes tackle by focusing on the future reward of personal growth.
    • Important Idea: “So you can appreciate–not just understand, that’s intellectual, that’s the mind–but appreciate what’s driving other people. It’s the only way our world’s going to change.”
  5. Nanotechnology Club
    • TED talk screened: Freeing Energy From The Grid, Justin Hall-Tipping
    • What it says about the organization: Hall explains how manipulation on the smallest of scales can solve the global energy-crisis. The Nanotechnology Club appreciates the ability of the nano-scale for great change and learns to work with it.
    • Important Idea: “We can do better than this. We should do better than this…and I know the answer as to how.”
  6. Entrepreneurship Club
    • TED talk screened: Top Ten Qualities to Succeed As An Entrepreneur, Vinit Najhawan
    • What it says about the organization: Najhawan discusses many of the characteristics of entrepreneurs, such as flexibility and generosity. One of his Top Ten Qualities addresses the importance of being part of a community of other entrepreneurs — such as a student organization.
    • Important Idea: “Like-minded people get together and support each other. And it’s really useful to have that kind of support, especially if you’re going to be an entrepreneur. It’s difficult to start companies.”

Though the groups represented at TED Talks Night were completely diverse, they united in the TED motto. All represented “ideas worth spreading.”

  1. Photo from Wikimedia Commons
    Photo courtesy of Andrew c via Wikimedia Commons
Cecilia Weddell

Cecilia Weddell

Cecilia Weddell (CAS 2015) studies Comparative Literature and Mathematics. She likes poetry, basketball, YouTube videos of baby animals, and tea.

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