MatthewKee, Staff Reporter
Founded in 1984 and commencing its renowned annual conferences in 1990, TED has been spreading some of the most controversial and innovative ideas for the past three decades. Inspired by TED’s impact, Grant Butler (SR) aspired to bring an event to Chattahoochee HS in efforts to allow students to share ideas that they are passionate about. Debuting in the spring of 2016, TEDxHooch was a mild success, with a few difficulties and struggles along the way. This year, Butler is determined to make TEDxHooch 2017 as successful as it can be.
Initially, TEDxHooch was not the main goal for Butler. After the collapse of the TED club at Chattahoochee in 2015, Butler asked around if people were interested in reviving the club. From there, the idea for TEDxHooch began to stir in his head. Butler notes, “Just from looking at our students, I knew that we had the same caliber of ideas that needed to be shared but didn’t have the platform to have their voices heard or express them as effectively. Because it is a TED sponsored event, not only do students have their voices heard by the audience that attends, each talk is uploaded and submitted to TED to have a chance at being uploaded to their main website as a feature”. Towards the end of October 2015, Butler began contacting some students whom he felt were driven individuals with unique ideas to share. Within a month, speakers had been confirmed, the charter had been approved, and TEDxHooch was confirmed to debut in January 2016. Thus began the difficulties.
Butler admits that most problems stemmed from a “lack of familiarity” with the process. “There were numerous guidelines we had to follow, both from the school and TED because they wanted to maintain the integrity and image that comes with such a big organization. Of course, we also had the issue with school being closed on the day of the original talk due to snow, which ended up affecting the attendance numbers greatly due to the lack of communication. During the live event, we anticipated that the event would go smoothly, since the speakers had prepared the talks on their own time. However, there were technical issues between the transitioning of the presentations and the microphones that could have been prevented if we had a rehearsal maybe the day before.” Even with these bumps in the road, TED approved the charter for TEDxHooch 2017, to the relief of Butler.
This year, TEDxHooch will debut on April 15, 2017; Butler strives to bring more exposure towards the event with high expectations for the future after he graduates. Butler hopes,”I really hope this becomes an annual event that has a reputation for its high caliber speakers, intelligent and thought provoking talks, and its ability to spread the ideas that aren’t always heard to the fullest extent”.