“What must be done?”
These four simple words kicked off the TEDxDePaulUniversity Conference in late April. Students, faculty, staff and alumni approached that question in short presentations, tackling such complex topics as homelessness, work-life balance and racism.
“We love the question at DePaul because it was St. Vincent de Paul’s own question,” the Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., DePaul’s president, said during his introduction. Holtschneider outlined his hopes for the conference, saying the goal was for the audience “to sit and think and be disturbed and start to question, to rethink what you thought you knew of the world or to see something fresh. That’s what universities do every day.”
Like universities, the nonprofit TED Conference LLC strives to spark dialogue and engagement. As a TEDx event, DePaul’s conference was locally planned and executed, but the organization’s tagline, “Ideas worth spreading,” was evident in the afternoon’s agenda. Hear from five of the presenters in the videos and recaps below.
Speaker: Kinza Khan (JD ’13)
Profession: Domestic violence attorney
Presentation: “The Multitudes of a Single Muslim Identity”
Khan’s question: What must be done about stereotypes?
-Acknowledge that we have implicit biases.
-Open our minds through understanding.
-Know that change starts from within.
Speaker: Mark McGreevy
Profession: Group chief executive, Depaul International; in residence at DePaul’s Institute of Global Homelessness
Presentation: “Massaging Life Into a Wooden Leg”
McGreevy’s question: What can you do about homelessness?
-Volunteer at a shelter.
-If you have a business, offer a job to someone trying to leave homelessness.
-Serve as a mentor.
-Say hello to the homeless in your community.
Speaker: Derise Tolliver Atta
Profession: Associate professor, School for New Learning
Presentation: “Sankofa: Going Back to Fetch Your Inner Voice”
Tolliver Atta’s questions: How can you discern your powerful inner voice and eradicate external negative voices?
-Get quiet, and be still.
-Connect with something that brings you joy.
-Spend five minutes daily in prayer, meditation or stillness.
Speaker: Alyssa Westring
Profession: Associate professor, Driehaus College of Business
Presentation: “The Secret Life of a Work-Life Insider”
Westring’s question: What must be done so women can thrive in any career?
-We need real institutional change: equal access to resources and opportunities for men and women, acknowledgment of gender biases and an open discussion of it, appreciation that people have lives outside of work and the development of policies that reflect that, and leaders who care openly and actively about gender equity and who ask the right questions.
-We need transparency in the workplace.
-We need to confront institutional biases.
Speaker: Dorothy Griggs (SNL ’13)
Profession: Departmental assistant, Center for Students with Disabilities, Division of Student Affairs
Presentation: “Can You Cry for Me? Can You Cry with Me?”
Griggs’ questions: How can we conduct productive conversations about race? How do we get past the politics of skin color?
-Search your heart; discover your personal biases.
-Choose empathy, not sympathy.
-Be brave enough to say you don’t know how to have the conversation but you want to.
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