An overarching goal of the Boston College community is to foster the spread of great ideas, as Eagles are taught to be thinkers, visionaries, and innovators. Students at BC seek to immerse themselves in the biggest issues facing the world today with the intense desire to help create a better future not only for the greater Boston area, but on a comprehensive global scale. Central to these Jesuit ideals is a belief that there is no greater force that sets the world aflame than a powerful idea.
In the current political and social climate, it has become increasingly important to voice these thoughts to seek a deeper understanding of the world and to influence the attitudes and lives of others. On campus, students work to build a community of curious individuals who engage with each other in critical thinking, both in and out of the classroom.
Modeled after the world renowned TEDTalks, BCTalks is a BC organization that gives undergraduate students the opportunity to showcase their respective ideas, research, and interests with their peers. These talks are intended to promote the extension of undergraduate research and the sharing of academic passions beyond the traditional classroom setting.
BCTalks is brought to the BC community by the group Education for Students by Students (ESS). ESS was founded in the fall of 2010 and initially launched BCTalks’ sister program, BC Splash. In the fall of 2011, ESS launched its first ever BCTalks program.
The goal of the lecture series follows the mission of ESS, which aims “to instill a sense of excitement in both learning and teaching.” The group seeks to close the apparent gap between student academic and social life at BC. It provides a collective platform for undergraduates to open a dialogue about their explorations and knowledge. The program also presents the rest of the BC community with an opportunity to listen to their peers, get inspired, and learn about current and exciting research happening on campus. Like TEDTalks, professional videos are made of every lecture to be referred to and shared over a variety of online media.
In an age where it seems as though only the voices from particular figures are valued and reinforced, BCTalks seeks to amplify the opinions of those who bridge many subjects through a diverse representation of topics at every event.
“The BCTalks platform allows all voices to be heard, regardless of color, class, or creed,” said the organization’s board. “All students can come together to appreciate the research and passions of their peers on one shared stage.” The series arranges an outlet for speakers to share their fascinations and emphasize matters that are not sufficiently represented on campus. It works to validate the voices of all students alike, especially those who may feel as though they are unable to express themselves in the current political climate.
The upcoming BCTalks event will be held on Friday, Nov. 10, during which eight selected students will speak on stage about topics of their choice. Potential speakers apply in the early fall for this event and in the early spring for next semester’s series. Applicants will then go through a series of interviews conducted by the group’s board.
“Once speakers are chosen, there is a workshopping day with the speakers and the E-board to prep speakers for their speeches and create promotional content, as well as for the speakers to get to know the E-board and one another,” explained the board. Students can fill out a speaker application, nominate a professor to speak, or find more information regarding the organization on the group’s website, bctalks.org. The website also lists previous speakers and their topics as well as links to the BCTalks Youtube channel and Facebook page.
“We aim to choose speakers who have unique experiences that will positively impact the insights of other students,” explained the board.
The lecture series has been incredibly effective in its efforts to spread this message throughout campus. Discussion of the upcoming BCTalks event in November has been prominent since students returned to campus in late August. As an academic institution in a time where speech is vital to the progression of the social and political world, BCTalks has ignited the interest and desire for creative and insightful expression on BC’s campus.
All quotations are on behalf of the entire BCTalks board: Chris Keegan, Joelle Resnik, Emily Cullen, Kristen Johnson, Max Fischer, Louise Nessralla, Francisco Ruela and Elizabeth Kopec.