As NYU’s official spirit week came to a close, students pitched ideas ranging from racial identity to youthfulness of the mind in Kimmel’s Eisner & Lubin Auditorium on Friday for the chance to speak at April’s TEDxNYU.
Each student received five minutes to pitch an idea and five minutes to answer questions from the audience. After the conclusion of the pitches, TEDxNYU Vice President Nasrin Jafari, TEDx 2013 presenter Corey Blay and TEDxNYU Director of Speaker Curation Maggie Rouen chose Steinhardt freshman Emily Rabinowitz to expand her five-minute pitch to 17 minutes at the talk in April.
Rabinowitz spoke on the importance of youth-purpose development and enhancing one’s life through solving social problems. She discussed the increasing lack of social awareness in students today and how a person’s purpose can change throughout the course of his or her lifetime.
“That’s the thing about purpose: it isn’t static,” Rabinowitz said.
Rabinowitz launched a two-year independent project that studied high school students and the effects of social awareness on their person’s lives. She concluded students have an overarching purpose in life to continue their education.
SPS junior Eli Nachmany’s presentation alluded to solving the same social problems through the use of sports. He spoke about the intersection between sports and social impact, and how the unexpected relationship between the two can have an overwhelming effect on the public.
“Because of its emotional entrenchment in communities, sports have an outsized influence in certain places,” Nachmany said. “Taking on certain causes and issues is possible through sport, because of the industry’s significant financial capital and unique resources.”
Individual empowerment in relation to student entrepreneurship was the theme of CAS junior Sanjna Verma’s presentation. She believes that universities should change the way they approach the void between academia and entrepreneurship.
“Successful entrepreneurs fill a void,” Verma said. “They don’t think of ways to modify a problem; they solve the problem.”
Gallatin freshman Momachi Pabrai addressed the problem of gender equality in today’s media, specifically in advertisements. She used examples of ads that restricted women to their bodies or their sexuality, and cautioned students to be careful of the media they consume.
In addition, CAS senior David Zumwalt spoke about the feminine stigma attached to poetry, thus preventing boys from exploring the field as well. He further explained the importance of poetry as a field of study overall and the need to eliminate the stigma.
Gallatin freshman Maame Boatemaa discussed issues of identity, specifically race in America. Boatemaa was born in Ghana and came to the United States when she was 15 years old. Her talk focused on her journey of coming to terms with her own racial identity in a country that has more divisions now than ever before.
Lastly, CAS freshman Rachel Law gave her talk about embracing youthfulness of the mind. She stressed the difference between a young body and a young mind. Although more people strive to maintain their physical youth, not many people think of how to keep their minds open and creative.
Jafari said she was amazed at the engagement between students.
“It’s all about building bridges across different communities to start a conversation,” Jafari said.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 29 print edition. Email Farhin Lilywala at [email protected]