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Oct. 6, 2014

Cleveland State to host own TEDx event

By Ashli Speed

TEDx is coming to Cleveland State University Friday, Oct. 24, in conjunction with other year-round events, as part of Cleveland State’s 50th anniversary.
The event is designed to show the community just how much Cleveland State has grown. TED, Technology Entertainment Design, was founded in 1984 under the slogan “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

Through annual conferences, TED Talks feature a variety of speakers sharing their experiences on a wide range of subjects.

TEDx, an independently organized TED event, allows communities to host events under the TED slogan with guidelines provided by TED. TEDx events are featured on TED’s website, making the host of TEDx a part of the TED community.

Through the leadership of Dr. Joseph B. Mazzola, dean of the Monte Ahuja College of Business, Cleveland State is now a part of that network. TEDxCleState(Left) Jackie Acho, Jesse Bach, Eric Ziolek, Halim Ina, Basheer Jones, Tracey Lind, Michelle Medina, Helen Qin, Jake Solomon, Jan Thrope and Mark Zust are 11 of the 12 speakers, are introduced at the TEDxClevelandState launch party Thursday Sept. 4. Missing is Director of NASA Glenn Researcher Center Jim Free.

“It was my dream to bring TEDx to CSU when I started one year ago,” Mazzola said. “TEDxClevelandStateUniversity is about the right to dream. Our right to dream – each of us. It is also about the ‘Power of Ideas’ in helping each of us fulfill our dreams.”

While working as the dean of the Belk College of Business at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Mazzola was able to attend TEDxCharlotte.

“We were one of the sponsors of that event. I was invited to address the audience and that was my first exposure to a live TEDx event,” Mazzola said.

“This is a large undertaking, Mazzola said. “Colette [Hart, senior director of the Centers for Outreach and Engagement in the College of Business and a co-organizer for the TEDxClevelandStateUniversity event] tells me our first TED event will be the equivalent of ordinarily an organization’s third or fourth TED event. It’s perfect for the 50th [anniversary], it’s just perfect for Cleveland State.”

Mazzola and the college of business staff are working hard to make this dream a reality.

Heather Schlosser, manager of Marketing and Communication for the College of Business, is one of the people involved in planning the TEDx event.

“A university is perfect for TED,” Schlosser said. “Cleveland and Cleveland State University are on the rise. We’re a place for innovation, we’re a place where people can go to explore their dreams and then take them into reality — that’s what we’re hoping the event will do for the campus and the community.”

As a member of the TEDx steering committee, which is comprised of people from departments all over the campus, Schlosser has worked to make TEDx happen. Brought on by Mazzola, Schlosser was connected with Hart.
Hart has been a part of TEDx since the beginning, helping to bring the event to Cleveland State.

The first step in becoming a TEDx host was applying for the TED license. Hart and Nate Ward, director of the International Trade Assistant Center for the College of Business and the other co-organizer of the TEDx event, were tasked by Mazzola to acquire the license.

As part of TED’s requirements, Hart and Ward had to attend a TED Talk.
Ward and Hard attended a TEDActive conference last March.

According to Ward, TEDActive brings together hundreds of TEDx organizers from around the world. Attending TEDActive provides organizers with a hands on experience to help them better understand TED’s objective.

Upon returning from TEDActive, Hart and Ward assembled a team spanning campus and members of the local community.

“It is wonderful to observe individuals with broadly different backgrounds, talents and interest working together to create something innovative and special that will showcase Cleveland and Cleveland State,” Mazzola said. “The team has taken Engaged Learning to a whole new level.”

The next step was to find speakers. Cleveland State put out a call for applications and nominations. This led to the submission of more than 100 applications. Ultimately 12 speakers were selected to fit Cleveland State’s theme, “The Right to Dream.”

The speakers were introduced Thursday, Sept. 4 at the TEDxClevelandStateUniversity launch party.

The speakers represent many different fields — artists, comedians, pediatricians and the director of the NASA Glenn Research Center.

Of the 12 speakers, Basheer Jones, a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta, shares the same sentiments as the other speakers — nervous and excited to be a part of TEDx.

While Jones did not receive an education at Cleveland State, he was raised in Cleveland.

“To be in my city and not be a part of it. I had to, my city and my field, I couldn’t miss it,” said Jones. “Cleveland is approaching another level, TEDx shows we’re going in the right direction, TEDx at CSU is a great thing.”
Jones hopes his talk will have an impact on the community.

“I hope to represent young people, the African American Community, the inner city, Cleveland, the Muslim community, Morehouse, Alpha, all these different facades that are me and I hope to represent them well,” he said.

TED gives guidelines for the talk and the venue, while everything else including marketing and production is left up to the university.

Maxiec Jackson, director of Ideastream, will serve as an emcee along with two student emcees: Jon Fedor, senior Electrical Engineering major and former SGA President, who hosted the 50th anniversary block party, and Lizzy Rudge, junior Marketing major.

A major piece of TEDx events is audience engagement. 40 students were interviewed in the Student Center on what their dreams are at CSU and after they graduate. These interviews will be used during the event in a video wall. The video wall is one way CSU will be engaging their audience during TEDx.

The live event will take place at CSU’s Waejten Auditorium. Tickets went on sale Sept. 12 through The price for students is $30 and $50 for general admission.

Tickets include a days’ worth of programming, with the talks and interactive pieces, cocktails and hor d’eurves.

The organizers hope the TEDx event will live on and have a larger impact on the community. They are already planning ways to do just that.

“We would like for it to be an annual event, we’re hoping that everything that’s done this year will lay the ground work for future TED events and it would just become part of the fabric of Cleveland State, which would be wonderful,” said Dean Mazzola. “I am very much looking forward to Oct. 24 and sharing this experience with CSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and with members of the local community.”