Students organize on-campus TEDx event

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Salam Bhatti, attorney and stand-up comedian, spoke Thursday night at the TEDxSpeedwayPlaza event in the SAC Ballroom.

Photo Credit: Graeme Hamilton | Daily Texan Staff

TEDxSpeedwayPlaza, an independently organized TED event put together by UT students, took place Thursday evening in the SAC Ballroom. 

The TEDx event was meant to inspire viewers to make an impact on their world through change.

“Our tagline for this year is ‘inspiring change,’ so it kind of goes hand and hand with UT’s motto,” said government senior Usama Malik, who participated in organizing the event. 

The event consisted of seven speakers from across the U.S., including David Laude, chemistry professor and UT senior vice provost for enrollment and
graduation management. 

“We [gathered] people who are doing things in their community [and] in the real world to inspire that change that can then change the world,” Malik said. 

One of the speakers, Salam Bhatti, said he wanted to present so that young people viewing the broadcast would be more inclined to start positive development.

“I don’t say this as a cliché, but the youth is really growing to change the world,” Bhatti said. “It’s this idea of collaborating [and] finding support in places you wouldn’t expect that will help that world be changed. The world needs to know that there are people out there that won’t sit down when it comes to oppression, injustice and stereotypes.”

Texas Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Organization sponsored the event to share ongoing events and ideas that students and community members are concerned about, according to Malik. 

“A lot of the events we do are just for the organization, but we wanted to do something for everybody,” Malik said. “We wanted to take a step and do something on a platform that can resonate with all students regardless of faith or background. TED is a good outlet and platform, so during the summer we decided that it would be best to do a TED event, especially on the UT campus since the tagline for TED is ‘ideas worth sharing,’ and where better to go than the University?”

Hamaila Qureshi, nutrition senior who attended the event, enjoyed TED being on campus. 

“I’ve always loved TED talks,” Qureshi said. “I think they really do show a different perspective and send out a lot of new ideas, so I was really excited they were holding one here.”

Malik said that future TEDx events are currently being planned for the spring.

“[When we opened up ticket sales], 25 percent of our tickets went in four minutes, so we know that it’s a high in-demand event,” Malik said. “We definitely are for sure continuing it in the spring.”