Night of community, conversation with TedxSMU

By Kara Fellows

TedxSMU always seeks to bring in a diverse and engaging lineup of speakers for its events and Aaron Diggins was all that and more during the Loyd Common’s Loyd on the Lane event with TedxSMU.

Along with being a current law student at SMU, Diggins is a veteran, serving in the US Air Force and in the Marine Corps before he became a detective for the Dallas Police Department. He gave the final talk of the evening titled “A Bold Conversation with a Black Cop.”

Diggins urged listeners not to be afraid to speak their minds, whether it’s criticizing the government or current social movements. Since his time on stage was limited to just 10 minutes he focused on “starting the conversation” leaving it up to listeners to continue it.

Students and faculty gathered Sunday night under strings of lights for TedxSMU’s event with Loyd Commons. People were free to come, listen for as long as they wanted, and leave whenever they chose. The speakers were SMU students from both undergraduate and graduate programs.

TedxSMU at Loyd Commons Photo credit: Kara Fellows

The diverse lineup allowed for a wide range of topics to interest almost anyone. The speakers talked about everything from understanding Islamic culture, to finding identity through computer games, to breaking stereotypes and accepting others.

Amit Banerjee, a first year student at SMU got involved with TedxSMU for the community and conversation it creates on campus.

“People generally are willing to listen to a talk even if it’s about something they don’t agree with,” he said.

Banerjee said the way the event was set up, without the pressure of having to be there for the whole time, allowed for more people in the community to experience the program.

First year student Gabrielle J. Gonzales, another fan of TedxSMU, and said her favorite part was being able to interact with the speakers afterwards.

“Being able to hear their opinions on other issues really gives it a more intimate level,” Gonzales said.

Both Banerjee and Gonzales admited they are huge fans of Ted Talks and never miss a TedxSMU event. Seeing them in the crowd of about 40 people always makes Heather Hankamer, the director of TedxSMU, very happy.

Hankamer said the importance of the events lies in the ideas it can cultivate and how it can open a person’s mind in the future.

“College students are going to be the next world leaders very soon,” Hankamer said. “These events encourage people to get involved in the conversation.”

The next TedxSMU event is on Oct. 27th with talks in the Hughes Trigg Ballroom scheduled throughout the day. Tickets are $25 and available online.

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