Unity in Diversity: SUU Hosts TEDxSUU Conference

On Oct. 6, Southern Utah University will host its annual TEDxSUU conference, featuring keynote speakers such as President Scott L. Wyatt. Centering around the event’s theme “Unity in Diversity,” speakers will emphasize and celebrate their differences. 

While large TED Talk conferences are held around the country, individual universities can obtain the proper licenses to hold smaller conventions themselves. This year, SUU has put together a roster of inspiring students, faculty and community members to speak about the necessity and importance of diversity. 

SUU President Scott L. Wyatt, assistant professor and published author John Belk, and Center for Diversity and Inclusion representative Cynthia Hawke are some of the several notable speakers to appear at the event. 

Sara McGriff, a senior studying nutrition, is the Student Event Chair for the conference and has helped in its organization. According to McGriff, the event’s theme is exactly what students need to hear about right now. 

“We figured that right now, since this is such a charged time of so many different changes, you know, we have a pandemic…we have a very interesting political situation, we have redefining of racial stereotypes…,we thought that now, as the world is changing so much, it is so important for us all to be together and be unified in making these changes,” McGriff said. 

According to McGriff, speakers are allowed to pick their topic, as long as it fits within the theme of unity in diversity. Those in attendance can expect a wide variety of presentations, all meant to uplift and inspire. 

“This is very much a space for you to come and grow as a person and as a human, and to connect with others that you wouldn’t necessarily be able to connect to, in a form that is very open and meant to be very positive,” McGriff said. 

This positive space will be enforcing social distancing guidelines and requiring all those who attend to wear a face mask. In addition, households will be sitting together and will be spaced out from others. 

The conference will take place in the Sterling Church Auditorium at 5 p.m. Ticket pricing is $10  for the general public and $5 for students. 

 For McGriff, SUU’s TEDx conference is an opportunity to thank those who have been a support system at SUU and emphasize that future change is possible. 

“There’s just such a caring nature to this university and everyone wants you to succeed. And I think it is so important that we bring in some of those voices to kind of give back to the other people and say ‘You have taught us to succeed, and we’re doing it…” McGriff concluded.


Story by: Amanda Walton
Photo Courtesy of TEDxSUU