Audio By Avery Elowitt

The student-run TEDxSanLuisObispo is returning to Cal Poly’s Performing Arts Center on Friday with the theme “Transcending the Norm,” where seven speakers will shed light on forward-thinking ideas.

The conference will be held at from 4 to 7 p.m and will be its sixth annual conference held in San Luis Obispo. 

TEDxSLO is an independently organized TED event that is an entirely student-run organization. This year’s conference is being led by lead organizer, recreation, parks, and tourism administration senior, Ana Waldburger.

The theme chosen for this year’s conference aims to highlight how society’s way of living has shifted following COVID-19. 

“We felt [the theme] would kind of encapsulate people coming out of COVID and how they have had to pivot and make differences in their industry,” Waldburger said. “The great resignation is happening right now and just all different industries are really changing what they look like right now.” 

Harvard Business Review shared data from The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in July 2021, 4 million Americans resigned from their jobs. Resignations in the US had hit an all time high beginning in April 2021 and lasted for several months, which was referred to as the great resignation. 

Attendees gather outside the PAC at a previous TEDxSLO event. TEDxSLO | Courtesy

TEDxSLO has seven speakers lined up to talk at the upcoming conference, including San Luis Obispo resident and Restorative Partners manager Luis Venegas, who will explain how restorative justice can be reconceptualized.  

The other speakers are Sam Royal, Sue Kaur, Elizabeth Barrett, Vanessa Brierty, Alessandra Cassar and Thomas Gratz. 

This is TEDxSLO’s sixth annual event and the first year back in person since February 2020, right before the COVID-19 shutdown. The event was virtual last year. 

“We’re just really excited to be back in person and at the PAC — that’s where all TEDxSanLuisOpispo have taken place in the past,” Waldburger said. “We feel like we’re going back to our roots.” 

The event will also include a performance by Cal Poly’s acapella group, Take it SLO, as a re-energizing transition into the second speaker session of the conference.

Tickets can be purchased on the TEDxSLO website. General admission is $30, student admission is $20 and VIP tickets can be bought for $60. Audience members who purchase the VIP tickets will receive  premiere seating, a goodie bag, access to a VIP area and be able to enter through a special entrance.  

TEDxSLO will be hosting an interactive event before the conference on Dexter lawn Tuesday April 12. Participants will have the opportunity to be a part of answering the question, “what transcending into the norm means to them?” on a three-dimensional red X. 

10 members of the TEDxSLO team will also be attending the event April 12 from 12 to 2 p.m. to interact with visitors before the conference.

“We want everyone to leave with different perspectives and a feeling of inspiration, and just a newfound knowledge that they wouldn’t have gotten from anywhere else,” Waldburger said.    

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