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Wide spectrum of ideas shared at fifth annual TEDxUGA

by Kemani Miles

In the past, the University of Georgia has had four previous TEDxUGA events with many more to come. The talks span from different perspectives to talk about issues that need to come to light and could help push society forward. This year, TEDxUGA decided to look at their fifth event from a different angle.

TEDxUGA took their talk in a whole new direction and used the idea of a “spectrum” to tackle different issues coming from 15 different speakers. The whole purpose of the this talk was to  make the the audience talk about different ideas and to cause them to think, which TEDxUGA succeed.

TEDxUGA was also the event for one of the first comedians to ever take the stage. Shaunak Godhinki, a fifth-year in Communication studies, does comedy shows five days a week in Athens and Atlanta.

Godhinki said that he decided to pursue comedy because he thought this was something exciting to do and he genuinely wanted to try it out.

“I’ve always thought that it was the coolest thing in the world but I didn’t know to get started in the field.” Godhinki said. “I don’t know if there was just a special calling, I just liked it alot and I have the most fun doing it.”

During Godhinki’s show he talked about his father, his girlfriend and even some funny moments here at UGA. He said that his first comedy show was held at a restaurant for a New Year’s party for his father’s job.

“My first show was at my dad’s New Years party. They asked another comic to do it but dropped out a week ahead. My dad was like, ‘my son will do it’.”

Godhinki will be graduating this May and has found a balance between school and comedy that fit perfectly for him, all because he really wanted to pursue his dream of comedy.

Professor W. Keith Campbell, the head of the department for psychology, also took the stage at TEDxUGA to talk about the narcissism. Starting in graduate school, he has spent 20 years researching narcissism and the different forms, like grandiose and vulnerable.

“I started studying for a few reasons, narcissism is really easy to see, so it’s kind of fun.” Campbell said. “Partly, I wanted to study the ‘non-self’ from a Buddhist perspective, I couldn’t figure out how to do that so I studied the opposite. Then part of it, it’s like a guy out there studying the Zika virus, you keep studying something and it works and then you can’t get off the carnival ride.”

Usually, people tend to think of narcissism as something that is negative but Campbell says that it could be used as something positive, like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge where people would video themselves being drenched in ice water.

“It can be used could be used for positive ends.” Campbell said. “I try to look at narcissism as a trade-off, there’s positive aspects and negative aspects. All of things are good in moderate doses but too much is a real problem.”

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TEDxUGA was also the event for the performance of Asura, a fusion dance team. Jun Kim, one of the members of Asura, said that he joined Asura because he likes the mixture of the culture that Asura.

“I like to mix the cultures of my friends.” Kim said. “I just like to be in a mixture of different identities.”

Asura prides themselves on being very disciplined and very driven. They have competed at the national level and they continue to push themselves forward with more practice.

Kim went on to say that what helps keep the team successful is self-discipline.

“A lot of the success comes from self-discipline” Kim said. “Practice outside of practice, recording yourself through video, sending it into the executive on team, just self-discipline keeps the team successful.”

The TEDxUGA staff were also very helpful to all of the speakers with pushing them forward and helping them through this process. Jun Kim said that this event was something even better than other competitions.

“It was amazing.” Kim said. “We go to these competitions where they’re expecting the dance teams to come but we can honestly say that TEDxUGA was ran better than these competitions. The hospitality, the students, the resources were so helpful.”

Campbell said that he has done speeches before but nothing like TEDxUGA. They really made him think about what he wanted to talk about.

“I was incredibly impressed with the students.” Campbell said. “They really forced me to think about it in a harder way that I think lead to a better talk if left to my own devices.”

Godhinki feels that he had a duty to the NMI and TEDxUGA to do a good job and to do right by them but he was excited about the opportunity of being a part of this event.

“It’s been cool to work with people who really care about this.” Godhinki said. “It’s been cool to work with people who’ve done a lot to put this production on. It’s been a blessing to do this.”

TEDxUGA was something to really experience, with all the great talks spanning from different topics. This event was something that was ran so well and it was very impressive to watch.

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