Inspired by the impact that TED talks have had on her life, Tanvi Kanchinadam ’19 successfully proposed a TEDxYouth Conference, which is to be hosted at Andover on January 14, 2017. The event will be comprised of around ten student talks exploring the theme, “What is our generation’s mission statement?”
Kanchinadam hopes that the conference will be an interactive opportunity that will help to spark discussion and provide a forum for student ideas on Andover’s campus.
“Andover [is] the extreme opposite of my old school. When I came as a [Junior], I [felt like] I could do anything. And I thought, if I can do anything here, what’s the farthest possible thing that I could never have done that maybe I can do here. And TEDx was the first thing that came to mind just because it inspired me so much,” said Kanchinadam.
Kanchinadam said she has collaborated with the Tang Institute to plan the conference. She has also worked with a group of around 15 other students that are a part of Campus Connectors to pick the theme of the conference and choose speakers.
Tucker Drew ’17, a member of the Campus Connectors group, said, “Everyone on campus has several things that they’re really passionate about… They’re often passionate about it because they believe it’s important for our generation to focus on. This broad theme gives the opportunity to relate someone’s own work to the broader theme and increase connectivity between what I do and what you do on campus.”
Caroline Nolan, Currie Family Director of the Tang Institute, said, “Tanvi brought the idea to us last spring, and we were just really excited to support a student-led effort to bring a TEDx Youth conference here… I think we’re really eager to host a platform where students feel as though they can contribute their important perspectives on key issues, both that resonate with our community, and with a global audience…I love the notion of a forum for ideas, I feel like this community thrives on that.”
The conference will include a series of keynotes and performances from several speakers. Kanchinadam is hoping to make the event very interactive to encourage discussions on the topic among students after the event.
The Oliver Wendell Holmes Library has also been, according to Kanchinadam, a vital supporter of her initiative. Michael Barker, Director of Academy Research, Information, and Library Services, said he appreciates the emphasis on student perspective that the TEDxYouth conference will provide.
“I for one am a huge fan of any kind of forum where students share their own work, their own ideas, to move the adults to the side for a minute and just present what they see. I think there’s a great sense of empowerment there. So before anybody even talks, I think we’ve already succeeded in creating a forum where students are asked to lead. I think that’s the greatest thing about it,” said Barker.
A broad range of speakers will be chosen for the event, with the goal of making the conference as interdisciplinary as possible. According to Kanchinadam, the broad theme leaves room for interpretation, all with the hope that speakers will pick a topic that interests them personally. The speakers selected will then spend a term working with instructors to develop their ideas into five to 15 minute presentations.
Anjalie Kini ’19 wants to use the TEDx conference to share her ideas about the importance of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematic fields.
“Giving a TEDx talk is a really good opportunity that is not something that a lot of people have the chance to do. Also, it’ll be really interesting to do the research and develop the presentation and speech and learn more about the topic that I’m doing and be able to share my ideas with other people,” said Kini.
The first and only previous TEDx conference at Andover was hosted in 2013. In the future, Kanchinadam wants to bring in speakers from surrounding schools and potentially dedicate one entire day in a school year to TEDx workshops.
“I want it to be an annual thing, I really want it to continue after I graduate. At least [I hope that] by my senior year we’re going to have TEDx conferences for an entire day, where the entire campus is experiencing it. Instead of having one set of speakers, there would be different speakers at different times. So you would be running from one talk to another talk… In the end, I want it to have the Andover spirit,” said Kanchinadam.
Students interested in becoming speakers should submit a speaker proposal application by November 27, 2016. Student speakers will work with the Tang Institute and participate in a series of trainings on public speaking and other skills in preparation for the conference.