PITTSBURG — The community is encouraged to audition for an event which is meant to promote diversity, inclusion and critical thinking.

The event, called TEDx Pittsburg State University, was made possible by Legislative affairs director for the Student Government Association Courtney Blankenship, who is a political science and communication major.

Her work granted PSU a 12-month license to host the event.

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” according to a release. TEDx is a local, self-organized event where TED Talks video and live speakers spark discussion and connection, the release said.

Blankenship said the event is an opportunity for the community to engage and share with students — to bring the university and community together.
“I thought it was a good way to invite the community to the university,” she said.
Last year, Wichita State University hosted a TEDx event and Blankenship thought PSU should have one too.

“It seemed to be a success and they had a pretty good turnout,” she said.

The conference will have a range of diverse topics in its speeches, all presented by students, staff and community.

“From science, technology to arts, there’s a speech for everyone,” Blankenship said.

Speeches cannot be politically- or agenda-driven, Blankenship said.

The speakers are to represent ideas of people who are from or went to school in Pittsburg.

“TED company is about promoting ideas not people,” Blankenship said. “It is not about the speaker’s resume or what they have done in the past.

“A student has just as much of an opportunity as a professor — not what they have done, but what their ideas are.”

Because PSU is a first-time TEDx host, the site will be limited to having 100 people in the audience, the more events hosted the number of audience members may increase, Blankenship said.

Audition applications are not out quite yet, but interested parties can contact Blankenship at sga_la@pittstate.edu. More information regarding applications will be announced at a later date. Auditions will be in January or February. The event will take place on March 27 in the Miller Theatre at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.

— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.