USFers Bring TEDx’s Big Questions to Campus

By ARVIN TEMKAR, USF NEWS Posted Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:55

How do you build a meaningful life? What are the consequences of massive wealth inequality?

Attendees heard the answers to these big questions and others at USF’s first-ever TEDx forum in February. Videos went online this month. The sold-out event was organized by finance alumnus Grant La Count ’16 and economics alumnus Julian D’ Rozario ’17. 

The forum featured USF law professor Thomas Nazario JD ’75 discussing living meaningfully; San Francisco-based wealth expert Stephen Kraus speaking on income disparity; Italian neurobehavioral scientist Valter Tucci pointing out how genes affect happiness; and spiritual counselor Sadhvi Saraswati relating a decision to leave her native California to live in a monastic community in India.

“I think we covered USF values quite well,” said Nazario, noting that the student organizers chose topics that highlight the university’s mission to provide a rounded education. “And since so many people view TED Talks online, what a great way to get some free publicity about the work we do here at USF.” 

Following a passion

La Count and D’ Rozario say they’re “obsessed” with TED Talks, the popular online video series where experts lecture on ideas that shape science, society, and our lives. 

“With the click of a button you’re suddenly listening to some three-PhD expert in some field you’ve never heard of,” says D’ Rozario. “It’s a good way to be exposed to something you otherwise wouldn’t.”

When La Count was a sophomore, he decided to see if he could get tickets to a TED conference, where many of the talks are filmed. To his disappointment, the tickets cost thousands of dollars. Instead he decided to organize an independent TED event, known as TEDx.

“People kept asking me, ‘Why you would do this?’” said La Count, who recruited his friend D’ Rozario to take on the task with him. “The real question is, why would you not?” 

USF: Perfect venue

Between school and internships it took a year for the pair to finish and submit an application to hold an event. They knew USF would be the perfect venue. 

“USF’s mission is to change the world from here. TED is trying to create change with all these interesting talks,” says D’ Rozario. “They naturally mesh.” 

Watch the videos »


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