Five takeaways from TEDxConnecticutCollege
How will the past shape the present? How will it shape our future?
The fifth annual TEDxConnecticutCollege conference, organized entirely by students from the College, tackled these questions on April 16.
Here are five takeaways:
1. Sellouts or survivors?
Model and writer Hari Nef is one of the leading voices in the transgender community. At TEDxConnecticutCollege, she traced the history of trans men and women, challenging ideas like gender roles and beauty ideals along the way. “If hair, makeup and nails—hormones even—keep us strong and safe,” she asked, “does that make us sellouts or survivors?” (Start video at 1:41:55.)
2. Shedding the stigma
“Social media manager by day and sex writer by night.” That’s Ella Dawson, who became “internet famous” for writing about her sexually transmitted infection in Women’s Health. While some recoiled at the article, many more praised her for her bravery—something Dawson said shouldn’t be the norm. “There are a lot scarier things to tell another person in this world than I have an STI.” (Start video at 1:56:17.)
3. Live long and prosper
When underrepresented groups are discussed, few if any conversations touch upon the treatment of the oldest individuals in our society. Aleksandr Chandra ’16, a psychology and English major, is dedicated to forwarding the cause of senior citizens. He founded Mending Maya, an intergenerational contact program bridging meaningful connection between younger and older generations in India. “Learn about life from those who have lived life the longest,” he urged. (Start video at 7:46:00.)
4. Stuck on campus? Escape with your headphones
Classes, study groups, student organizations, cultural events—there are plenty of opportunities to learn on a college campus. Sometimes, however, intellectual curiosity needs to be satiated from outside of the ivied walls. Queue up a podcast, says Maya Goldberg-Safir, a social media strategist and licensed podcast therapist. “I wish I had podcasts when I was in college; they can be a great escape.” (Start video at 8:03:50.)
5. Foster the Kittens
“If you want to be a part of something bigger than yourself, start small. Like, kitten small.” Spencer Lutvak ’16 would know: He and his family have fostered more than 250 kittens since he was 12 years old. He learned the importance of fully dedicating himself to a cause at that young age, using animals as his starting place. That cause, no matter how small, can make a difference—and that’s easy enough for a 12-year-old to understand. (Start video at 7:09:36.)