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TEDxUNB ignites some sparks

Sparks were ignited on campus last Thursday night.

TEDxUNB, an independently organized TED event, had the audience thinking about everything from emotions, filmmaking, mental health and even mechanical legs.

The night, which was themed “Ignite the Spark”, kicked off with Christy Clarke, who talked about “Horse Wisdom” and how horses can teach humans about emotional intelligence. She talked about how there is no such thing as a good or bad emotion, that it’s just information.

“Emotions don’t happen to us, they happen for us,” Clarke said, during her talk.

“Maybe it’s time you started horsing around.”

Saint John filmmaker Greg Hemmings then took the stage to discuss how filming a movement can help it grow.

“If a movement is going to be successful, it’s going to have to allow itself to be watched,” Hemming’s said. He used his experience filming the Sistema movement in Venezuela as an example.

Professional speaker Corey Poirier then told the audience the five “weeds” they should pull from their life. Cartoonist Gene Fowler followed with a thoughtful talk on finding your priorities in life.

Journalist and St. Thomas University professors Jan Wong also talked about her struggles with clinical depression due to the betrayal from her former employer, the Globe and Mail, with whom she is still fighting legal battles.

“But you know what? I’m not sick anymore, because that’s the story of clinical depression, you can get better,” Wong said.

“Right now I am not sick, so I can stand up for myself, and I’m not going to let them break me.”

Dr. Levi Hargrove, a UNB alumnus, followed Wong with a talk about his research that’s transforming the lives of amputees. He’s playing a part in making prosthetics limbs more life-like than they’ve ever been.

The evening closed with UNB phycology professor Dr. Ryan Hamilton, who said that everyday mental toughness could be found through resistance, acceptance and conviction.

It was the second annual TEDxUNB and organizer Jenn Connolly said it was the speakers that set the event apart from last year.

“The speakers were so honest and open about their lives and their research that I think people really were happy with that,” Connolly said.

She said the event was a way to showcase the ideas and research coming out of the university and the province.

“We have a lot of great things going on that you might not hear about,” Connolly said. “And being in a academic setting, and showcasing that research, entrepreneurs and the passionate people that we have, shows people that they can accomplish whatever they want to.”

Connolly said TEDxUNB will likely continue next year, and hope this years’ talk left the audience inspired.

“I hope they took something away from the whole talk, whether it was a new idea, a new way of thinking or they realized there’s something in their life they want to pursue,” she said.

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