Two days before their event, the TEDxOhioStateUniversity team gathered together in the Columbus, Ohio snow to construct a stage backdrop from salvaged wood — rescued from the city’s oldest neighborhood, Franklinton. With the help of local carpenters, Reckon Reclaim, the team collected wood, drafted a design and created a stage to perfectly reflect their 2016 theme: “Reconstructing Reality.”
“[The theme] had huge implications in everything [we did],” says organizer Stephany Tabet. “Reckon Reclaim takes wood from places that would have otherwise been demolished and works with the community to reuse it for new homes and furniture … The TEDx team actually physically ‘constructed’ the stage. We collected reclaimed wood and built three panels to present across the stage.”
TEDxOhioStateUniversity’s on-theme design continued with their “TED red” carpet, which was created in partnership with a company that uses abandoned fishing nets as the material for custom carpeting. “The company pays locals to recycle abandoned fishnet (that is dangerous for the ecosystem), and it then reconstructs it into carpet,” Tabet says. “All of these elements to our stage were conscious decisions we made to construct a socially-aware and innovative platform for our empowering speakers.”
To engage the audience, the TEDxOhioStateUniversity team created a number of four-piece puzzles and gave each member of the audience a piece. Attendees were challenged to “reconstruct” the puzzle with three other attendees, an exercise designed to create connections and — as Talbot says — “spark meaningful conversations and spread ideas within the community.”
This, combined with 500 virtual reality viewers passed out for attendees to use and share, social media hashtags and a Snapchat geofilter, gave attendees ample opportunities to share their take on “Reconstructing Reality,” Tabet says.
To learn more about TEDxOhioStateUniversity, visit their website here.