Meet Morgan Kastner a senior Business Management major from Denham Springs, Louisiana. Kastner is part of the TEDxLSU Creative Communications Team, where she works with the PR/Outreach and Writing subteams. She has recently become a Communication across the Curriculum intern.
TED is a non-profit global organization dedicated to spreading ideas and creating a dialogue for change. As part of TED, TEDxLSU is an independently organized and local event devoted to sparking discussion and connection within our community of Baton Rouge. The event is put on by dedicated LSU staff, faculty, students, and community members.
As part of the TEDxLSU Creative Communications Team and Communication across the Curriculum intern, my job is to help put together the TEDxLSU event. TEDxLSU presents speakers from around Baton Rouge and surrounding areas to talk about ideas worth spreading, this year’s topics include: cancer research, childhood obesity, animatronics, comics, and more. In addition to the talks themselves, the event consists of various interactive exhibits that also showcase innovation and the importance of community connections for the area. The event culminates in a closing celebration during which attendees, speakers and community partners engage each other and the talks they heard that day.
But this event does not happen overnight. LSU’s Communication across the Curriculum program (CxC) brought the first TEDxLSU to life in 2013 and has been spearheading the event since then. In 2014 CxC created the Student Creative Communications Team. In 2015 TEDxLSU’s staff organization team expanded into the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, and the result of these new developments each year is increased opportunities for students, like me, to undergo experiential learning while engaging the Baton Rouge area. The TEDxLSU organizers, TEDxLSU Creative Communications Team members, and dedicated community members work around the clock from August to March to put this event together.
The Creative Communications Team is comprised of students from various academic programs spanning from engineering to art and design, and it is broken into different subteams: Event Logistics, PR/Outreach, Writing, and Visual Communication. We work in our independent subteams to finish certain projects, but most of our plans require collaboration between multiple teams. For example, I work across two teams extensively in order to promote this event.
Along with working on promoting and setting up for the event, our organizers have also taken us on educational adventures, including trips to Baton Rouge’s Creative Bloc and Vivid Ink Graphics. Here, we talked with Baton Rouge creatives to learn about different industries and processes of various fields, further spreading ideas through our community.
We are gaining real-world experience in our intended fields and getting to work closely with influential community members within and outside of LSU. For example, I am managing all of our social media ads with money donated to us by the Baton Rouge Business Report. I get to work closely with their Chief Innovation Officer to learn how to optimize my budget and yield high results. I’ve also had meetings with Mary Ellen Slayter, CEO of Reputation Capital Media Services, to discuss my writings for TED that were published by 225 Magazine. And my favorite experience with TED so far was being asked to be a CxC intern. As a CxC intern, I get to work alongside the organizers to fully understand the wide scope of responsibilities that go into making this event and expanding my skills by taking charge of different projects. Through these projects I have come to understand the importance of collaboration, analysis, and engaging community members. These new skills can be applied to many fields and will benefit me no matter where my future takes me. Not only do I feel that I have learned countless invaluable skills and lessons, but also that I am highlighting amazing work that is happening in our community and pushing our city towards progression, creation, and innovation.
By hosting this TEDx event each year, as a student, not only do I gain experience and form connections, but I also have the opportunity to showcase Baton Rouge’s thriving arts community, scientific innovations, and cultural movements. And by sharing we inspire ourselves and future generations everywhere to keep learning, creating, and innovating. That’s why I invited my parents, siblings, and friends to come to the event. I want them to see how much this event has already impacted my life and how much it could impact our community.
Join the discussion for change and create a connection of your own in our community. Visit www.tedxlsu.com. Together, we can spread some of the best ideas our community has to share.