Princeton Talks plans public panel
Inspired by the TED Talks series and Harvard University’s Harvard Speaks club, Phway Aye ’15, Billy Beacom ’15, Faridah Folawiyo ’15 and Susannah Sharpless ’15 created the group to remedy what Aye called “a lack of conversation on campus.”
Sharpless is a columnist for The Daily Princetonian.
“We realized that we could learn a lot from each other that we couldn’t learn in class,” Beacom added, explaining the impetus for the group’s formation.
The group has not yet been recognized by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students or secured USG funding for its operations, but Aye said the group plans to hold its first public panel on April 5. English professor and Master of Rockefeller College Jeff Nunokawa has agreed to be one of the speakers for the April 5 forum.
“I’m always for more voices,” Nunokawa said. “I certainly hope [Princeton Talks does] well. I certainly intend to do my part.”
Once it is officially recognized and receives funding, Princeton Talks will organize public panels of five or six speakers who will give 10-minute presentations on whatever topic they wish, Aye said. Although speakers will not be required to present their topic in a specific form, Sharpless said the content of each speech must be “personal [and] relatable.”
After holding each forum, the group will post a video of the event on its YouTube account, according to the group’s Facebook page.
Before speakers are chosen for future panels, however, interested candidates will be required to submit applications on a rolling basis and to attend a mandatory “coffee talk” with Folawiyo and Sharpless, who are in charge of recruiting. The coffee talks will facilitate the selection process by helping prospective speakers adapt and refine ideas that may not be entirely formulated to make them presentable in a forum, Beacom said.
Princeton Talks has already begun accepting applications, and its founders will speak with current applicants in the coming week, Folawiyo said. Sharpless added that the group will consider hosting someone who has already given a well-received TED talk at a Princeton Talks event in the future.
Though Princeton Talks has yet to apply for USG funding, Beacom said the group would require relatively little funding and that its costs would be limited to paying for small expenditures, such as promotional flyers.
The group has already been approached by the Sustainable Fashion Initiative about a potential collaboration, Aye said.
“Our focus is on spreading ideas and starting conversations, and other groups who also emphasize that as well, we’d be happy to collaborate and work with them,” Aye added, though she emphasized that the group hoped to solidify its own presence on campus before coordinating its activities with other groups.
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