USC students host ‘TedxTrousdale’ event

USC students from various academic departments will participate in TEDxTrousdale, an event that aims to explore ideas about social and environmental change, Saturday at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

TEDxTrousdale is an independently organized event that was inspired by the nonprofit organization TED, whose motto is “ideas worth spreading.”

TED hosts annual conferences that bring together innovative thinkers from around the world to convey their new ideas regarding technology, business, science and more. Past speakers have included movie producer J.J. Abrams, Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Nobel laureate James Watson.

The event at USC aims to reach out to both undergraduate and graduate students as student speakers will encourage their peers to think about how they can contribute to this change and make an impact on their world.

Rachel Tobias, co-organizer of TEDxTrousdale and a senior majoring in international relations, said the purpose of the event is to profile students and give them a chance to showcase their passions.

“The theme of the event is ‘Make Your Mark,’ and we really want to show students that you can be a 20-something and still make a difference,” Tobias said. “You don’t need a Ph.D. or a career to make a positive impact on the world as a young person.”

Tobias said she first began thinking about creating a TED event at USC after interning for the organization over the summer.

“I was personally inspired by the work I saw at TED, so in early September I started going to different departments around USC to see if they wanted to sponsor us,” she said.

The event is sponsored by the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, the USC Marshall School of Business and Business Lab, the Graduate and Professional Student Senate, and the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation.

This is the first year of TEDxTrousdale, but Tobias and co-organizer Megan McAninch hope that it continues in the future.

“We’re both seniors, so we hope that we can pass the torch to the sophomores and juniors that are participating in this event in the years to come,” said McAninch, who is a senior majoring in health promotion and disease prevention studies.

Sarah Barrett, a junior majoring in business administration, plans to speak at the event about how students can positively effect change through business.

“It’s an honor to present with such amazing leaders in our own generation here at USC,” Barrett said. “I really believe that this is a great collaboration of students with a variety of different interests to share our experiences with each other and broaden our sense of learning.”

Tobias said she hopes those who plan on attending TEDxTrousdale will gain a new perspective on how they can make a difference at USC and on a larger, community scale.

“We want to really challenge students to open their minds to new ideas,” she said. “Students can have these assumptions and stuck perceptions, and we want them to re-evaluate those and incorporate these new ideas into whatever they want to do in the world.”