Guilford imagines with TEDxGreensboro: Dreamsboro

Bill Gates. Karen Armstrong. Stephen Hawking.

Along with hundreds of other influential figures, these three people have all given talks as part of the Technology, Entertainment and Design program.

Now, several Greensboro residents have joined that list.

Greensboro hosted its own TEDx, an independently organized TED event, on Tuesday, April 16, with the theme “Dreamsboro.”

Guilford College streamed live coverage of the speakers so students and nearby alumni could see it.

“These (talks) are good for Guilford because they are inspirational, and they help you push the boundaries as Guilford does,” said CCE student Agymah Busch, who attended the viewing.

The Office of Alumni Relations, the Bonner Center for Community Service and Learning and the Center for Principled Problem Solving co-sponsored the event.

“My takeaway from TEDx was the power of collective dreaming,” said Karrie Manson, senior director of alumni relations and programs. “It is so important to be imaginative and to un-limit yourself, but the power comes in when you share those dreams.”

The TEDxGreensboro website talks about the theme “Dreamsboro” as what we can envision for the future of Greensboro.

“Is it a city of the future because of creative entrepreneurship and aeronautics, logistics, nano-sciences, arts and music, technology, advanced manufacturing, design, health, education — and other fields we may not even know about yet?” asks the site. “Or, is it something else? What can be imagined?”

Another component of TEDxGreensboro came in connection with Winston-Salem’s Imagination Installations Project.

“Everyone who viewed TEDxGreensboro was encouraged to write a statement ‘Imagine when …’” said Manson.

According to the Imagination Installation website, the project shares these statements through interactive art exhibits and social media.

Although TEDxGreensboro focused on the wider Greensboro and Piedmont Triad region, Manson finds it important to inspect the Guilford community in a similar manner.

“I think the time is so ripe for our community to start dreaming about the future of the college and who we want to be … and what we want to do as an institution,” said Manson.

Each of the speakers delivered short talks, around 15 minutes long, on topics ranging from post-college transitions to songwriting.

Troy McConnell, an entrepreneur, explained the most important steps to take as an entrepreneur: act, ask, and adapt.

A few minutes later, artist and curator George Scheer explained how his living museum “Elsewhere” allows people — sometimes complete strangers — to “come into this space … and feel at home.”

“They tied together in really different ways,” said Kim Yarbray, project and communication manager of the Center for Principled Problem Solving. “There were all kinds of people speaking: artists, business people, young professionals, educators. You could really tell that they were thinking about the theme through their own lens.”

Bringing different perspectives and fresh ideas is what TED is all about.

TED began as a conference uniting its three components of technology, entertainment and design under the theme “ideas worth spreading.”

The non-profit has now grown to include TEDx, TED Open Translation Project, two TED conferences each year and other programs.

“I love the TED talks, and I also think that Guilford talks about community all the time,” said Manson. “We are all talking so much now about how we fit into the triad community, and this was an obvious connection.”

The Office of Alumni Relations plans to go further with the idea of TED at Guilford.

“I would love to see Guilford host a locally organized TED event at some point in the future,” said Manson. “We have a lot of people who could do a wonderful presentation.”

Looking even further, Manson hopes to use the model that TED follows to reach out to alumni.

“I think it would be so cool to have locally organized QUAKEx events where maybe three people from (a regional alumni chapter) could give 10–12 minute talks for other alums,” said Manson. “We could record it, and then they could have a party.  That way, we could start to hear from each other.”

Keep on the lookout for future TEDx (or QUAKEx) events at Guilford.  You never know what new ideas you may encounter.