There aren’t many words one can use to describe TEDxCUNY 2014 that don’t have the same connotation as “raving success.” There was an inundation of requests to attend and for good reason.

Speakers Charles Liu & Emma: "Accessing the Cosmos" (photo source - tedxcuny.com)
Speakers Charles Liu & Emma: “Accessing the Cosmos” (Photo source: tedxcuny.com)

The speakers, who spoke on the theme of “access,” presented at the Macaulay Honors College building on a Sunday afternoon in November. The speakers included actresses, astronomers, Fulbright scholars, newsroom anchormen, and even a group of “reducetarians” who are committed to eating less meat. The event managed to bring together this unique collection of speakers to a unique collection of students, both at the building and through live-streaming events at seven of CUNY’s main college campuses. The theme of “access” was divided into four categories: the mind, the community, the world, and the future.

The talks explored a variety of subjects within the theme of access. Professor Charles Liu from the College of Staten Island had an extremely unique presentation: a nine-year-old on stage asked the professor a list of inquisitive questions from the point of view of…. yes, you guessed it, a nine-year-old. Professor Liu, quick on his feet, answered first with an in-depth explanation of the astrophysics behind the questions and then translated it to a level that even a curious nine- year-old would be able to comprehend.

Brian Kateman, a “reducetarian,” talked about giving up the consumption of meat by introducing the concept of reducetarianism. Too often do movements take on a radical form, and mediators are then needed to give the original idea a realistic path to follow. Brian was just what the movement against meat consumption needed. Introducing a lifestyle of eating less and less meat periodically without having to go through drastic changes is a much more acceptable proposition, as opposed to giving up meat altogether one day, as countless studies have shown.

Among other speakers, there was also an inspiring presentation by acclaimed speed painter Tim Decker. Tim painted separate portraits of Albert Einstein and the Statue of Liberty, while upbeat music played in the background. In between paintings, he explained how important it is to follow one’s dream and stick with something even when hitting rock bottom.

These talks that were received with enthusiasm by the audience, making the event a success and ensuring a collective eagerness for the next annual TEDxCUNY. We congratulate the students who were able to successfully put on this event, and wish them best of luck in their future planning!

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