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Higher ed, technology and environmental action in spotlight at TEDxYorkU

Higher ed, technology and environmental action in spotlight at TEDxYorkU

York University will celebrate great ideas on Saturday at the second annual TEDxYorkU event.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences began in 1984 in Silicon Valley as a way for tech employees to share their ideas and innovations. TEDxYorkU, which is organized independently of TED, will include talks by 11 members of the York community. They will speak about a wide array of topics, including the impact of emerging technology on education, student activism, mobile technology and seniors, and how concussions affect athletes.

TEDxYorkU will be held in Theatre Glendon on the Glendon campus of York University from 9:30am to 3pm. All of the talks will be streamed live at

Featured speakers and topics include:

Mamdouh Shoukri, York University president &  vice-chancellor – "Forty years later I traded a briefcase for a backpack... and I loved it". After 40 years, Shoukri revisited his time as a student thanks to York's inaugural President for a Day contest. The contest saw him swap roles with a student for a full day, in what may be a first for a Canadian university. In this address, he will talk about the contest, his experiences and what he learned from the day. (10:10 to 10:22am)

Patrick Monahan, York  University vice-president academic & provost – "The 21st-Century Revolution in Higher Education". Monahan will explain the transformation already underway in higher education worldwide, driven by technological advances that will enable – and also require – universities to respond to the learning needs of their students in new and different ways. The university in 2025 will be a very different place from what it is today. This transformation will mean more and better educational alternatives, better learning outcomes, and at a lower cost to students themselves. He will also explain how York University aspires to be a university for and of the 21st century. (11:43 to 11:55am)

Mike Layton, Toronto city councillor (Trinity-Spadina) and a graduate of York’s master of environmental studies program – "Free Energy Retrofits". Layton proposes that to combat climate change, we must take action globally, nationally, locally and in our very homes. He focuses on the latter, outlining a number of things that people can do in their own homes to conserve energy and offset their effects on climate change, focusing on the support and use of municipal legislation. (2:26 to 2:38pm)

Barbara Crow, professor of communications & culture and associate dean, research, in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies – "Canadians at the Cross-Roads". Through her research on the impact of mobile technology on seniors, Crow explains the importance of bridging the gap between youth and seniors, as it relates to mobile technology usage. (10:49 to 11:01am)

The event will also include presentations by a number of other speakers. The time of each presentation will be updated on the TEDxYorkU website. These speakers include:

Lauren Sergio, York University professor, School of Kinesiology, Faculty of Health – "Impact Matters. Literally". Using her research on the impact of concussions in athletes, Sergio explains that we need to rethink how we know when it’s safe for them to return to play.

Megan Bertasson, Whitebear Woman, York student – "Acimowin – to tell a story". Using Cree storytelling, Bertasson shows the power of stories as agents of resistance, cultural propagation and impact. She leaves the audience with the powerful story of Helen Betty Osborne, a Cree woman brutally assaulted and murdered in Manitoba, asking them to digest, interpret and apply the story in their own way.

Samantha Yamada, York student – "Measuring Impact". Using the example of Pine River, a centre for youth dealing with mental health issues and addiction, of which she is a co-founder, Yamada is arguing for the importance of program- and self-evaluation in being able to make an impact.  She highlights the courage required to acknowledge and overcome failure, and to learn and grow from it.  Evaluation may not be the flashiest form of research, but it is essential to making an impact and difference.

Alastair Woods, York Student – "In Praise of Troublemakers". Woods gives a call to action, praising troublemakers − those who stand up and make their voices heard, pushing governments to be more accountable, and finding ways to operate both within and outside of the existing (imperfect) political system.

Brian Crosby, York alumnus and comedy writer – "All Your Ideas Are Bad: A letter to myself". Presented as a letter to his younger self (and to all of the audience), Crosby is sharing the idea that impact is not something that happens, but a process.  Using examples of "bad ideas" he has come up with throughout his career as a comedy writer, he demonstrates that "failure" is not an end point, but a natural and necessary part of finding success with your passions and being able to make an impact.

Jeremy Laurin, president & CEO, ventureLAB – "Impact - My life as an entrepreneur". Using experiences from his own life, Laurin talks about the impact and influence of his family on his journey to becoming an entrepreneur.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.