A new event called Think Out Loud is giving students an opportunity to give TED-style talks on everything from sex positivity in media to food consciousness to creative collaboration. On Friday, April 24, students of all grade levels and disciplines will be given 10 minutes to discuss any topic they choose.
Rebecca Seidel ’15 and Danielle Pruitt ’15 are currently spearheading the Think Out Loud project, which they hope will be interactive and showcase a variety of projects.
“We wanted it to be more than just a lecture, so we have some audience interactions and some performances,” Pruitt said. “We wanted to make it more than just someone talking at you and describing, but really immersing people in whatever they’re working on.”
According to Seidel and Pruitt, Think Out Loud is the first event of its kind at the University, as previous platforms for sharing ideas were limited to University faculty and professors. With Think Out Loud, these students aim to create a platform that is available for students to share their ideas.
“I think one thing we don’t have much chance to do at Wesleyan is share our passions and ideas about things,” Seidel said. “We’re working on them a lot in small groups of people, [but Think Out Loud] is a way to interactively share it with other people.”
The idea for this project came about when Pruitt realized that it was hard to hear about what projects students were working on.
“It’s hard to hear about what people are doing unless you are talking to them directly or are in the department and they’re obligated to give presentations,” Pruitt said. “Other than that, there’s no bigger platform to share what students are working on.”
Pruitt and Seidel are both a part of WESU, whose mission, they say, is to give a voice to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to share their perspective. With this goal in mind, they believe that a medium like Think Out Loud could provide a similar platform for students.
Other University student groups, including Method Magazine, Wesleying, and the Wesleyan Film Project, are sponsoring the event. The sponsors are there to help market the event and get as many students to attend as possible. This would also lead to a potential networking space for students.
“We’re also working on having a dessert reception to get everyone together and go up to a person and talk to someone about their ideas,” Pruitt said. “I don’t think we have any formal [student-to-student] networking events on campus where people can walk up to a person and talk about ideas and it would be good to create that kind of space.”
Think Out Loud will be be showcasing nine students, though they are also creating a platform for students who cannot be accommodated during the formal event. This could potentially involve recording the students and distributing their talks in a podcast format. This podcast would be done with the collaboration of Method Magazine.
Shirley Fang ’18, along with two other students, is part of an upcoming Design Thinking initiative and feels that with design thinking, an essential part is to have students come together and think critically in regards to problems. This initiative’s group will be one of the presenters at the showcase.
“The core of what we will be discussing is that we want to create a student-run design initiative, and essentially a design hub that allow students from all different disciplines to work and collaborate as a team to tackle design challenges and real cases from local communities,” Fang said.
Fang believed that this Think Out Loud platform could be beneficial in spreading the word about design thinking.
“A big part of being designers is learning how to present and showcase why design thinking is important, so this would be a great chance to co-sponsor with Think Out Loud and help solidify what we want to accomplish here at Wesleyan,” Fang said.
Seidel and Pruitt hope that events such as Think Out Loud will continue next school year.
“I’m just excited there’s so much interest in an event like this,” Pruitt said. “We were unsure about how many people would reach out and say they were interested, but we got a lot of applications. That shows there is a need for something like this to happen on campus and I hope next year someone does something similar.”