Posted 8:37 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013

Many are familiar with TED Talks. TEDx events are independently coordinated to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences.

TEDxLogoWebUW-La Crosse Student Dewayne Wrencher says he’s experienced a lot of turning points in his life. So coming up with just one to talk about for a special campus performance was not a problem. A TEDx event on campus Tuesday, Nov. 12, will feature a spoken word piece by Wrencher, as well as five other stories from campus and community people surrounding the theme of “Turning Points.” Many are familiar with TED Talks, an award-winning video site that is a branch of the TED non-profit organization. The organization is devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx events are independently coordinated to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx UWLaCrosse will be performed and videotaped from 4-6 p.m. in Graff Main Hall Auditorium. The event is by invite only and a total of 100 tickets will be distributed by members of the organizing committee. A video will be available at the TEDx website after the live presentation. The committee aims to provide students with an opportunity to hear exciting speakers and get energized, says Jessica Thill, UW-L’s TEDx committee chair. “What excites me about the event is that it can broaden peoples’ ideas of how they can change at the university,” explains Thill. “This is an early turning point in our lives.” [caption id="attachment_27920" align="alignleft" width="550"]Dewayne Wrencher handling his art work in the art studo. UW-L art major Dewayne Wrencher, left, is presenting one of six talks during TEDx UWLaCrosse. Here Wrencher poses with his artwork, which is part of his exhibition “Matrix and Support” through Nov. 15 in 340 Center for the Arts. He does research on teaching social justice through visual arts and poetic word play. He plans to go to graduate school for a master of fine arts or curriculum instructional design.[/caption] Wrencher’s talk focuses on self realizations he had one day as a college student. On this particular day, Wrencher decided not to speak to gain a heightened awareness of himself and how others perceive him. The experience inspired him to write the piece he will read, “Checkmate!” “There are three or four sections in the piece where I say ‘checkmate’ — to point out to the audience these are instances where I had to step back and say, ‘Is this how I’m seen? Is this the image I put out?’” he says. “The piece is all about awareness and self checks.” Wrencher hopes his words inspire others to do a self check and realize their true intentions or character. Perhaps such a deep and real reflection will inspire them to do something they had never considered. “There are too many ways one can get caught off track and become someone else, to please someone else,” says Wrencher. Wrencher, an art major, is also a fan of TED Talks and is excited to be part of a local talk. The event’s two emcees are UW-L students Alexis Smith and Noelle Griffiths. Several TED Talks videos will be shown at the end of the event. TED also encourages campuses to start TEDx organizations, which could watch TED Talks and plan future TEDx programs.


Contact Jessica Thill at 608.785.6913 or to be added to the waiting list or help organize a TEDx campus group. TEDx is from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Graff Main Hall Auditorium. Admission is free, but by invitation only.


UW-L’s video will be uploaded to the TEDx channel.

TEDx UWLaCrosse Speakers

  • UW-L student Dewayne Wrencher - Checkmate!
  • Jim Jorstad, UW-L director of academic technology services - Digital Storytelling- Changing People, Perceptions, and Lives
  • Melani Fay, elementary school counselor, La Crosse School District - What Children Need
  • Bee Lo, naturopathic doctor, Onalaska Natural Healing through NAET - A new Concept to Disease and Health Prevention
  • Dawn Rouse, UW-L assistant professor of educational studies - Lessons from my Wolf Pack
  • Ryan McKelley, UW-L associate professor of psychology Masking Masculinity - Helping Boys Become Connected Men

Videos following the live presentation

Derek Sivers (TED2010) How to start a movement Drew Dudley (TEDxToronto, 2010) Everyday Leadership Angela Lee Duckworth (TED Talks Education 2013) The key to success? Grit Matt Cutts (TED2011) Try something new for 30 days