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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

MarquetteX hosts last event, seeks official TED license

Photo by Sydney Czyzon
Quinten Gerhartz (left) and Kyle Hagge are working together to plan the last MarquetteX event and apply for an official TED license this summer.

MarquetteX will host three students and two industry leaders at its last TED-style speaker event April 18 at 7:30 p.m. in the Varsity Theatre.

The original MarquetteX organization ended in 2015, but new student organizers rebooted the organization with a TED-style event last semester. TED is a global non-profit organization that aims to spread ideas through powerful talks, according to the official website. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design, but today’s speakers go beyond these three categories.

Students Kyle Hagge, a graduate student in the College of Arts & Sciences, and Parker Dow, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, recently joined forces with Quinten Gerhartz and Louis Finney, vice president and president of MarquetteX respectively. The group’s goal is to take MarquetteX to the next level through applying for an official TED license.

The 707 Hub has provided the students with guidance to get them started, Dow said.

While anyone can host an independently-organized TEDx event, an individual must submit an online application to receive a license to host official TED events. Then, an individual must attend an official TED conference to receive certification.

Dow traveled to New York City last week to attend the TEDFest conference in preparation for Marquette’s eventual TEDx license. By attending the event, Dow received certification necessary to host over 100 people at future TED-licensed events on campus, which will be titled TEDxMarquetteU. The 707 Hub paid for his trip.

“That was super, super huge, and (the 707 Hub has) been really instrumental in helping us kick-start this,” Dow said. “It’s just really cool to see the enthusiasm and passion everyone there had for their communities.”

The group plans to apply online for an official TED license this summer.

Hagge became interested in helping Marquette acquire an official license after attending a TEDx event at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in fall 2017.

“I thought it was, like, the greatest thing ever,” Hagge said. “I just started asking people on campus who I should talk to to make it happen, and they pointed me to the 707 Hub.”

Employees at the 707 Hub connected Hagge with current MarquetteX organizers. Dow, on the other hand, received Finney’s phone number from someone in the College of Engineering and reached out to get involved. As a transfer from Purdue University and previous director of its TEDx program, Dow wanted to bring the official TED license to Marquette’s campus.

“I’ve just been working with them on that and using my experience to kind of kick-start that because it takes a while to start it,” Dow said. “It’s a great way to establish ourselves as being professional and very sincere about where we’re headed.”

At this semester’s final MarquetteX event, student speakers will explore the topics of fear, independence, passion and courage, Gerhartz said.

The industry leaders include Marcus White, the vice president of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, and Frank Martinelli, the president of the Center for Public Skills Training. The two will explore social and systemic issues in society.

“We had an original meeting with them (a month before the event) to see if they’re interested,” Gerhartz said. “I (told) them to put some ideas down on a piece of paper. It (didn’t) have to be anything formal, just some topics we (could) go off of and explore.”

After a couple more meetings, the MarquetteX organizers worked with speakers to finalize scripts.

“I go and tell them, ‘Practice for the next week and a half. Practice, practice, practice.’ And then it’s all kind of up to them,” Gerhartz said. “We do have a rehearsal the Monday before the event … It’s a full run-through rehearsal so they can get comfortable.”

After reaching out to individuals in the Marquette community earlier this semester, organizers received nominations and created a list of potential speakers to choose from.

“We just looked up some background information about them. So, what kind of stories they had and picked based on that,” Finney said. “For professional speakers, we’ve really just gone with people who we’ve sort of known.”

Dow said TED events are a great way for students to learn quickly about topics outside of their fields of study.

“No matter where you are, you’re always here to learn at a university or college,” Dow said. “It’s really nice to learn about economics or history or leadership in the TED-style talks outside of what you’re doing.”

Gerhartz said the official TED license will attract more people to the events. The TEDxMarquetteU talks will be video recorded and uploaded on YouTube, Hagge said.

“We know as soon as you switch to TEDx in the name, we’re going to have a lot more people get involved,” Gerhartz said. “A ton of people are going to attend the events.”

TEDxMarquetteU events will begin in fall 2018, Dow said. He said the organization plans to host two small events in the fall semester and one large event in the spring semester. The events will be open to the entire Milwaukee community.

TED events on Marquette’s campus expose students to their peers’ experiences, Hagge said.

“I think a lot of times, you’re either too busy in your own life or you just kind of see someone walking around campus and you assume they just go to school and do their homework, and that’s it,” Hagge said. “But there are some students who are doing some really cool things, which I think is very inspiring.”

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