We are TEDxAmsterdam: a report from our volunteer day
About 120 volunteers contribute to a smooth organization of all TEDxAmsterdam events and spinoffs. But with so many people in the team, most volunteers have only met few colleagues. So it’s about time for a little team gathering to get to know each other and to get a taste what’s on the menu of the remaining three TEDxAmsterdam events this year!
On a fine Saturday morning we met at Lev Kaupas, one of the informal homes of TEDxAmsterdam (as we are virtual and have no office space). Maarten, our new volunteer coordinator, started off explaining why his team had organized this day: it’s time to celebrate all volunteers that make these events happen. Speaking with all the bright and creative people and seeing their visual ‘business cards’, it’s splendid to be part of a shared inspiration by positive ideas that can change the world.
And all volunteers are happy to dedicate their time and energy to any tiny, yet crucial, role in the events. Coen serves as a ‘handyman’, walking around and fixing small problems wherever help is needed. Lieke stated she’d be happy to give support on the production floor. And Mara said she’d love to receive speakers and prepare them just before they walk on stage.
A growing family
Dreams and passion appears on volunteers' visual 'business cards'
If it wasn’t clear yet, the TEDxAmsterdam family is expanding. Starting with TEDxAmsterdam in 2009 in the KIT Tropenmuseum, TEDxAmsterdamWomen and TEDxChangeAmsterdam joined a year later. 2010 also saw the birth of TEDxYouthAmsterdam. Programme manager Evelyne explained how different TEDxYouth is from other events – and from any school day, obviously! Talks by youth aged 12 to 18 are complemented with interactive workshops. Evelyne is on a convincing mission: to tell youth to give the finger, as a figure of speech, and to prove the contrary if people tell them their ideas just won’t work!
But there is more: TEDxAmsterdamLive (a livestream of the two annual ‘real’ TED conferences, served with a lot of extra ‘inspiration candy’) and Ideas Worth Doing, which is dedicated to moving from ideas into tangible results with the TEDx community. The latest addition to the family is TEDxAmsterdamED. With ED for Education, the event in September focused around the future of education. As high school dropout turned teacher, TEDxAmsterdamED volunteer Derek has experienced himself what an uninspiring and demotivating system can cause. Now he adds to Evelyne’s plea: if people say you can’t do something, just do it anyway!
New encounters. Derek meets production manager Xander, with whom he's been emailing a lot in the runup to TEDxAmsterdamED
Erik, our sustainability guy
From an environmental perspective, organizing big events with speakers flying in from all over the world is one of the worst things you can do, as sustainability coordinator Irene Rompa told us last year. Now Erik joined her to see how TEDxAmsterdam can reduce its environmental impact, beyond going for sustainable tap water, food and goodies. The answer lies in the carbon footprint. Unfortunately, everything from tweets (0,02 gram per tweet!) to video streams, stage lighting and transport emits carbon. As Erik said, there are three things we can do: reduce, use renewables, or invest in offsetting mechanisms. Therefore, Irene, Erik and team are now working on getting solar panels with our guests to offset these carbon emissions. We’ll certainly hear more on 30 November.
Time to talk
Any TEDx related event is nothing without talks, right? At Lev Kaupas, it wasn’t only the programme managers who took the floor. A couple of volunteers accepted the challenge of the open floor. Tara shared her personal story how chosen moments of solitude can be a good response to difficult situations. She consciously chooses to escape problems by being all alone, take distance and reflect. And Carolien, author of the TEDxAmsterdam book ‘Het begint met een idee‘, shared a compelling story about the love of a couple for their adopted children. There is certainly a great story telling capacity amongst our volunteers!
The absolute highlight
You’re lucky if you can attend a concert of Celine Cairo. And we were incredibly lucky to attend an intimate, unplugged concert of Celine Cairo. Her fragile voice and simple but solid guitar play were the absolute highlight of the day. Full silence in the room and goos-bumps on our arms… Celine already performed at TEDxRotterdam and TEDxHaarlem. Hopefully TEDxAmsterdam is next?