Professor Michele Pistone Ignites Change at TEDxVillanovaU
The alumni, faculty and staff who presented at the inaugural TEDxVillanovaU in the Connelly Center on March 28 inspired the audience with their passionate talks on how they would "Ignite Change." Now these creative thinkers are inspiring the world. Videos of the dynamic, 18-minute presentations are online for all to see and share. Villanova's participation in the TEDx program —a platform for promoting "Ideas Worth Sharing"—was the brainchild of Villanova School of Law Professor Michele Pistone, JD, LLM. "People on campus have tremendous ideas on how to change the world. This medium gets those ideas out there."
From the moment she discovered TED (a nonprofit organization whose initiatives support world-changing ideas) and began following TEDTalks online, Pistone was fascinated by the tightly scripted messages and the medium's ability to disseminate globally the ideas of innovative thinkers.
She also was fascinated by the opportunity for Villanova to be part of this revolution through TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together for a TED-like experience. Pistone recruited Helen Lafferty, PhD, College Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences; Lauren Miltenberger, PhD, assistant professor, Political Science; and April Barton, VLS Director for Academic Computing. They brainstormed, applied for a license and assembled a team to organize what would become TEDxVillanovaU.
"The individuals I've worked with are among the most talented in the University," Pistone says. "They gave their time because they believe in the power of this new medium to deliver ideas and to connect Villanova with people around world."
Although other universities that host TEDx programs bring in outside speakers, Pistone and her fellow organizers wanted to showcase innovations "bubbling up" within the Villanova community. Soliciting submissions based on the theme "Ignite Change," they received more than 50 videos. Narrowing that list down to nine talks was no easy feat.
In the weeks leading up to the event, presenters rehearsed their talks, offered each other feedback and collaborated with Valerie Joyce, assistant professor, Theatre, to add that final polish before stepping into the spotlight.
The prep work paid off. Between the transformation of the Villanova Room into an intimate studio setting, the flawless deliveries and the intermission entertainment, the event surpassed Pistone's expectations. "The energy in the room was amazing!"
Pistone, who, with Dr. Lafferty, recently attended a TEDx Summit in Qatar, is looking toward next year's event.
Click here to watch a recording of Michele Pistone’s Tedx presentation, which focuses on the future of higher education.