Wartburg will host the fourth annual Northeast Iowa TEDx event on March 20, 2021, with the theme “Questioning the Narrative.” This free event will be held via Zoom from 9 a.m. to noon.

There are challenges that come with holding this event virtually, but the executive team said it has made accommodations to ensure interaction from viewers. This includes Zoom breakout rooms where guests can discuss and play games after talks and holding a Q&A with speakers. 

“It’s more interaction with the people at the event themselves because there’s that time in the breakout room,” Jenna Smuszkiewicz, second-year student and secretary and curator for TEDx Wartburg, said. “People can share what they thought and their experiences about the topic.”

This year there will be seven speakers from around the country, each from different backgrounds. Each speaker applied for this event and were chosen by the TEDx Wartburg executive team. The team said they felt that these speakers had ideas that would benefit students to hear and interact with.

TEDx is also a chance for students to share their ideas to a large audience in a safe and comfortable environment, according to the TEDx executive team.

“TEDx is such a widespread thing, I was able to reach not only my peers here on campus but also friends and family from all over who watched my video. So it was really cool to have that opportunity as a small college student to be able to have that chance to spread my message someway that I knew would get out there past what I was capable of doing,” Brittany Strause, fourth-year social work major and speaker at the 2019 Tedx event, said.

The Wartburg community decided to bring TEDx to campus because they saw other schools benefiting from this event and wanted to give students here that opportunity, according to the TEDx executive team.

Speakers are able to choose their topics, so students are able to watch their peers speak on issues and share beliefs on things they are passionate about. Previous speakers at Wartburg have discussed topics about gender and sexuality, mental health and transitioning into adulthood.

“I myself am a visual learner so sitting there, seeing their PowerPoint, seeing them talking through the points, it really helped the message that they were trying to spread sit better with me, I understood what they were trying to say,” Strause said.

TEDx at Wartburg began in 2017 when an application was filled out to request permission for the first ever TEDx event to be held on campus. A team of 15 Wartburg students worked together to organize the first event. Alejandro Salazar, a 2019 Wartburg graduate, was the president and founder of the group on campus. For the first event, there was a 100-person limit which was lifted after, according to a 2018 Wartburg Trumpet article. Students are able to register for this event at https://www.wartburg.edu/tedx/.







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