TEDxUGA: How It Added Up

TEDxUGA: How It Added Up

NASA, Jenga and other topics at this year's TEDxUGA

We've all seen the viral videos. The ones posted on your stoner friend's Facebook page about how school kills creativity or the one on your cool aunt's page with Sheryl Sandberg explaining why we have so few women leaders—they are TED talks. On Friday, March 27, the University of Georgia hosted TEDxUGA for the third year in a row at Tate Grand Hall.

The 15 speakers, all somehow associated with UGA, spoke passionately on topics ranging from monarch butterfly conservations to an analysis on the meaning of 'peace.' Their topics spanned every subject imaginable, but they were all united under the theme – Plus (+) – to expand our minds, improve upon our current state of events and, quite simply, to add to a world that has given so much to us.

While each of the speakers captivated the audience, a few stood out to me as the benchmarks future speakers would aspire to compare to. These particular speeches especially sparked the creativity, wonder and inspiration that the TED foundation hopes to achieve.

Stephanie Jones, a PhD student of UGA and English educator, shared the time when she found an explicit book—Pink Palace, if anybody was looking for a good suggestion—left behind in her classroom. While battling her fear that these young children were losing their innocence way too early, she realized that they related more to these books than they ever would to Of Mice and Men. Through this experience she understood that her students were ready to engage in discussions concerning real-life subjects. So instead of scolding or questioning children for wanting to read more 'explicit' books, such as 13 Reasons Why (which deals with a young girl's suicide), Jones suggested we talk about not only the subject matter of these books, but also why the book caught the child's attention in the first place.

Connor Lewis, another UGA student, had the ability to craft words that struck the heartstrings like any John Green novel. Entranced with space and NASA since a young age, Lewis shared his all-encompassing desolation over NASA's current funding (0.4 percent — significantly lower than 1966's 4.41 percent). In support of the program, Lewis recollected the fame and adoration that followed Neil Armstrong. Not only did landing on the moon signify incredible scientific achievements and expand our knowledge of the universe, it also made a hero for all to look up to. Lewis challenged the audience to look up to the night sky with a sense of hope—not fear.

Associate Professor John Drake may participate in cutting-edge research that attempts to explain the dynamics of biological populations and epidemics, but his 8-year-old daughter is clearly the Jenga champion of the family. Using the classic game to describe the switch from a stable state to an unstable state, from spillover to an epidemic, Drake made science nerds out of us all. His daughter equally charmed the audience with her incredible skills and slight diversion from the rules in order to beat her dad.

Finally, the last person to take the stage, Lemuel LaRoche, also known as “Life," a UGA alumni, expressed his concern that "the world has a strange way of changing us." His main concerns were 1) to inspire children with an inferiority complex and 2) make them see themselves differently—as something more. From this he started “Chess and Community," a program that lets at-risk youth in Athens learn to play the game of chess and relate it to their everyday lives. LaRoche explained the ties between chess and life: always think five moves ahead, don't be the pawn for someone's negative agenda, and more. Ending his speech with a moving poem that encapsulated his message: we need to change the way we treat children and allow them to perceive themselves. LaRoche received a well-deserved standing ovation, and TEDxUGA came to a close.

TEDxUGA definitely lived up the theme. The speakers enriched our minds with new ideas to discuss and dared us all to discover our own ideas that will add to our world.

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The 10 Stages Of A 2:30 P.M. Kickoff, As Told By Alabama Students

But we still say Roll MF Tide!


We all have a love-hate relationship with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Bryant Denny Stadium, especially when it's 94 degrees.

1. Immediate sadness


What do you mean I have to wake up at 9 a.m. to get ready?

2. Bracing yourself for the worst


It's a marathon not a sprint ladies and gentleman.

3. Accepting the game is going to happen


Rain or shine we are all in that student section screaming our heads off.

4. Trying to wear the least amount clothes possible without being naked on the Quad


Is it me or does it get 10 times more hot the minute you walk on to the quad?

5. Shedding a tear when you walk out your front door once you feel the heat and humidity on your skin


Is it fall yet?

6. Drowning your sorrows inside a Red Solo cup at 11:30 a.m. at a fraternity tailgate


Maybe I'll forget about the humidity if I start frat hopping now.

7. Getting in line to go through security realizing it'll take an hour to actually get inside Bryant Denny


More security is great and all but remember the heat index in Alabama? Yeah, it's not easy being smushed like sardines before even getting into Bryant Denny.

8. Feeling the sweat roll down every part of your body


Oh yeah I am working on my tan and all but what is the point of showering before kick off?

9. Attempting to cheer on the Tide, but being whacked in the head with a shaker by the girl behind you. 


Shakers are tradition, but do we have to spin it around in a full 360 every two seconds? I have a migraine from just thinking about it.

10. Leaving a quarter into the game because Alabama is kicking ass and you're about to have a heat stroke.


I'll watch the rest in air conditioning thank you very much!

We may not love the 2:30 kickoffs but Roll Tide!

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I Made Emma Chamberlain's Mediocre Vegan Cookies, And They're Pretty Incredible

Emma and her vegan cookies have made their way into my heart, and are here to stay.


One day, I went down the black hole that is 'YouTube at 3 am' and discovered my favorite social media influencer of all time: Emma Chamberlain. I started binge watching her videos every night for about a week, where I came across her "Cooking With Emma" series. I decided that I wanted to give her vegan antics a go for myself.

I've never cooked or baked anything with the intention of it being vegan, so not only is that new territory for me, but I've never even eaten a vegan cookie. The only reason I'm doing this is because Emma did, and she is aesthetic goals.

To start the journey of vegan baking, I took to Pinterest, just like Emma, and found this recipe to use. Although the video that inspired all of this used a gluten free recipe, I opted for only vegan, because I'm allergic to most of the ingredients that make things gluten-free.

In true Emma style, I used a whisk to combine the wet ingredients together, making sure to use her special technique.

Then, I did the same thing with the dry ingredients.

After that, I dumped everything together and combined all of the ingredients.

Once they were combined, I chopped up a vegan chocolate bar, because Emma and I like chocolate chunk cookies, not chocolate chip, there's a difference.

Now that everything is combined, I made balls of dough and stuck it on a pan, and baked them while I binged more Emma, because what else would I be doing in my spare time?

The recipe said to make the balls a lot smaller, but we aren't perfect, so I made them gigantic. In my head, I thought the worst thing that could happen was it turn into one big cookie, but that's a whole other video you need to watch.

I took them out of the oven, and they were brown on the top, but still a little doughy. At this point I was tired of waiting and eager to eat them, so I disappointingly set them aside to cool, which only lasted a minute or so before I snagged one up to try.

The taste was definitely one I've never associated with cookies, and came to the conclusion that if I decided to go vegan, it would be doable with these cookies and Emma Chamberlain by my side.

Emma inspired me to get out of my comfort zone, which is a reoccurring theme throughout her channel, and I'm happy to be apart of it. She taught me that even if mediocre cookies is all you have, eat them with pride because you made them yourself.

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