The DAC coffee house transformed from a mere assortment of chairs into a forum for female empowerment during the TEDx chapter of St. John’s Women’s Day event last Thursday, Nov. 2. The event covered a variety of topics from feminism to self-identity in just a few hours.
With the chatter of Starbucks ever so faint in the background, a powerful social conversation took place.
The event intended to replicate the TEDWomen’s “Bridges” event that occurred earlier this month in New Orleans. The chapter aimed to recreate the itinerary and aura of this event. “Bridges” spanned over the course of three days, leaving St. John’s Women’s Day event with big shoes to fill, some said.
Lauren Ruiz, secretary of TEDx, kicked off the night by emphasizing how Women’s Day aimed to promote the TEDTalk ideology of “bring[ing] together a global community of people exploring how change begins.”
This exploration was brought about before the first speaker even stood in front of the all-female audience. Campus organizations such as Raised Pinay, Feminists Unite and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority opened booths to allow audience members to explore the ways in which they promote female empowerment.
“It’s important to lift each other up… I feel like a lot of women forget that we all undergo the same struggles in life,” Philanthropy Chair of Delta Phi Epsilon Nisha Busre said.
Busre, who was a speaker at the event, added that she wanted to bring attention to the issues women face and bring light to the things that her sorority does to help women overcome these said obstacles.
“I really liked the guest speakers and hope they can make effective changes for future events,” freshman Sydney Bembry said.
TEDx President Neelesh Rastogi centered his conversation around what it means to be a feminist.
“We believe that we can actually kind of spark that whole discussion into one voice and come up with the concept of ‘Bridges,’” Rastogi said.
This concept was brought to life by the audience members. As they began to share their opinions and stories, they were unconsciously building “bridges” with their ideas. From cultural aspects to family history, participants in the discussion were welcome to share as they pleased. These “bridges” were not intended to burn at the conclusion of the event, Rastogi said, but rather continue on.
Ruiz and Rastogi added that the “bridges” are meant to extend and build up to the greater TEDx Talk that is set to take place in February. Women’s Day is a part of the puzzle piece, intended to generate a larger conversation for TEDx’s upcoming events on campus.