TEDxAstonUniversity | Journeys – Press Release
6th July 2020, Birmingham, England
Despite the uncertainty and chaos caused by coronavirus, the students behind TEDxAstonUniversity have demonstrated outstanding resilience and determination by taking up the challenge of organising the first virtual TEDx event in Birmingham. They are doing this despite being spread across three continents, coordinating time zones, studying and navigating life in lockdown.
The event will be held on 1st August 2020 and the theme is ‘Journeys’. A number of talented and thought-provoking speakers and performers will be taking to the (virtual) stage to share how their individual journeys have helped them to come up with unique concepts about society and the world around us, while also encouraging the attendees to reflect on their own journeys.
What challenges have the TEDxAstonUniversity team faced?
The committee of 20 students used to have their weekly meetings on campus in Birmingham. Now, all the work is taking place from student bedrooms across Europe, Africa and Asia via Google Meet. This has been a difficult adjustment for many members. Khadija Patel, a member of the Operations team, expressed that ‘navigating between personal and academic affairs has been difficult’, while Joel Song from the Data Analytics team said that he struggled with the lack of human contact that face-to-face meetings provide. Despite these obstacles, the team has slowly but surely adjusted and they are motivated to work even harder to overcome the unprecedented changes. Several team members have expressed their gratitude to TEDxAstonUniversity for keeping them grounded throughout the pandemic; Teodora Denkova and Deepa Patel from the Marketing team stated that working on the event during lockdown has helped them to stay busy, and that working with their team made them feel more positive and part of a family. The team also created a Coronavirus group chat to provide mental health support, tips and resources for one another through this turbulent period, demonstrating TEDxAstonUniversity’s strength as a team when it is needed the most.
The team’s decision to take the event online was a challenging one; the Director of the society, Tristan Ripke, stated that ‘we had to slow down at first to adjust to the new situation. But we decided to continue because we believe in TED’s mission of sharing ideas worth spreading and want TEDxAstonUniversity to benefit the community’. The team has no doubt that the virtual event will be just as memorable as their previous events, if not even more so. Due to the digital nature of the event, it will have a global reach and a greater number of people will be able to attend, gather inspiration and engage in discussions with speakers and fellow attendees from the comfort of their own homes. Tristan said that he is ‘very grateful to be working with an amazing team’ and he believes everyone’s perseverance will benefit their employability a lot. TEDxAstonUniversity’s 2020 virtual event will be a shining example of how the team overcame the difficulties that the world threw at them, and it will definitely not be one to miss.
Who is behind TEDxAstonUniversity?
TEDxAstonUniversity is an entirely student-led society at Aston University that has been organising annual TEDx events since 2013, with the objective of empowering future-focused change-makers to connect beyond their limits. TEDxAstonUniversity’s events have been a huge success every year, bringing together people not only from Birmingham, but from all over the country.
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