TEDx Telfair Street kicks off in downtown Augusta


News 12 First at Five/ Friday, Jan. 31, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- The TEDx conference was held Friday at the downtown library in Augusta. 15 speakers gave short, inspirational talks on a whole host of different topics from art to technology, education and much more.

If you've never heard of TEDx, you're probably wondering what in the world it's all about.

Melanie Rivera, a TedX volunteer, gave us her interpretation of TEDx, saying, "It's a great opportunity to learn from community members what's important to them, and each of them have something very unique to share."

Organizers have been working to bring the event to Augusta for a year now, and Friday, all of the planning and hard work finally came to fruition.

"I'm an ordinary person, and I have an extraordinary team of volunteers that have really helped do their jobs. They've given up their evenings and weekends, their families to volunteer. We're all volunteers on this event," Grace Belangia, the organizer for TEDx Telfair Street, explains.

Fifteen different speakers were selected out of dozens of applications, each allowed to make their point in less than 18 minutes.

"I'm really hoping they'll do it again next year. Maybe I'll try to be a speaker," Rivera said.

The theme for the event was 'Matter.'

A lot of the speakers talked about why their specific topic mattered, for example, libraries.

"A library is actually a mission, a promise, an attempt to keep a record of what we do. It's not just the books that are in it,' speaker Charlie Bennett said.

Nearly as important as the speeches are the breaks in between, where attendees are encouraged to talk about the ideas they just heard, and approach the speakers.

"It's really nice to see everyone come together and want to spread these ideas and want to be connected," Bennett said.

TED allowed 100 tickets to be sold for the event, since this was the first ever TED event in the area, but others were able to watch the event at a few places around town, like upstairs at the library, and GRU's campus.

They'll announce this summer whether there will be another TEDx event next year, but the hope is to do it every year, and grow it bigger and better.


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