‘Innovative Solutions to Complex Problems’ theme of TEDx event

A wide array of topics, ranging from the opioid epidemic and sexual assault to music therapy, will be presented at Marshall University’s first TEDx event Saturday, May 4.

“It’s just kind of a relief, more than anything just knowing that our story is going to be out there,” said Buffy Six, one of the event organizers and a senior online journalism major. 

TEDxMarshallUniversity, which is part of a popular online speech forum, is different from the other speeches on the site, Six said, because the program is centered around the Marshall and Huntington communities. 

Hunter Barclay, former Marshall student body president and another organizer of the event, said he and his team want to keep most details under wraps, but the topics will consist of opioid epidemic and sexual assault, criminal justice reform and music as therapy, Six and Barclay said. 

Since Barclay said Huntington often gets negative coverage of issues like the opioid epidemic, he, along with Hannah Petracca, Marshall’s former student body vice president, and Brian Kinghorn, assistant professor of curriculum, instruction and foundations in the College of Education and Professional Development, wanted to have people present solutions to these problems. 

“We really wanted to kind of just find those ideas that people have specifically for those people that don’t have that platform to share those,” Barclay said. “I think it will be a good way to get those ideas out there.” 

Six said she thinks it is “kind of cool to see these local people that are coming up with these ideas and these solutions and are excited to present them to our audience and to the worldwide audience of the internet.”

Knowing that these solutions and ideas are going to be presented online is important to Six because “anyone can go to it and watch this and can learn about who Marshall is and who Huntington is,” she said. 

These solutions, Six said, are feasible and not out of reach. Some of these solutions are already in motion, Barclay said. 

Many of these solutions, Six, along with others may not have heard, Six said, but she hopes people will realize the solutions are not out of reach and can be implemented. 

“I’m hoping that what this is going to do it really motivate whoever watches it to take initiative on implementing on these ideas and following through on these ideas and making a change,” Six said.

This project, which Barclay said began in November, will come to life this Saturday at 5 p.m. Although Barclay said he wished everyone could attend the event, the TED Conferences, LLC caps the event’s attendance at 100 people. 

However, Barclay said there will be a live stream watch party in Smith Hall 154, which Six said she will emcee. 

“It’s all coming together pretty well, so I’m pretty excited for it,” Six said about TEDxMarshallUniversity. 

Paige Leonard can be contacted at [email protected].