By Kellan Reinikka
For The Diamondback
One student discussed how catcalling leads to rape culture. Another stood up to explain that being an immigrant isn’t confined to what’s shown on the news. A third talked about how bees are connected to art and science.
This year’s Terp Talks event, based on the TED Talks model, delved into a broad array of topics Monday night in the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center. Five students presented speeches before more than 120 people.
“Terp Talks gives students a voice and an opportunity to inspire others,” said Terp Talks president Hadley Jones in her opening remarks.
Atman Smith, a university alumnus and co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, served as the keynote speaker. Smith has spent more than a decade teaching yoga and mindfulness to high-risk youth in Baltimore.
Smith began his speech with Bhakti yoga. He asked the audience to close their eyes and breathe, before reciting a series of statements.
“I want you to say ‘I love you’ to yourselves,” Smith said, before having people say “I love you” to the person sitting next to them and then the entire room.
“You have to be fearless,” Smith said.
The five student speakers discussed issues that have impacted their own lives and the lives of their communities.
Junior economics major Toluwanimi Obalade ended his speech by asking audience members who are immigrants, or whose parents are immigrants to stand, which he said showcased how immigrants are people just like everyone else.
Samantha Bingaman, a senior environmental science and policy major, talked about the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism. She discussed the time in her life when she suffered from an eating disorder.
“It was hard because my parents are sitting up there and it’s something that I’ve never fully talked with them about, nonetheless an entire group of people,” Bingaman said. “Don’t be afraid to talk in front of people, they just want to listen and you should give them the opportunity to.”
Terps Talk began in spring 2015, and this year, students and speakers mourned the loss of Jean VandenBosch, an active member of Terp Talks and a COMM107: Oral Communication: Principles and Practices professor at this university. VandenBosch died at 73 after complications from surgery earlier this month.