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TEDxPLNU: Spreading Ideas

For the second time in its history, PLNU had the incredible opportunity to bring together students, faculty, staff and alumni to share in a presentation of ideas.

Hosted by OSV executive director Rebecca Smith, the TEDxPLNU event featured topics ranging from the meaning of wellness to the dangers of neutrality, all delivered by faculty members, an alumnus and even a current PLNU student.

Melissa Newman

Newman is an associate professor of communication and theater at PLNU, is interested in how people use messages to create meaning, and how the social influence of communication affects public and private life. Through this lens, she explored the complex realities facing our technologically inclined society.

She concluded with a three-step strategy to “reduce screen time and reclaim your life” in order to be a more effective and more present communicator.

  1. Focus on eye contact.
  2. Fast from your device.
  3. Fast with friends.

Chimara Anyiwo

Next up, Anyiwo, a PLNU student studying pre-law, business and criminal justice, discussed “the other N word – Neutrality.”  Here she explored the dangers of being a bystander in a volatile social climate that needs people to step up, not shy away.

She explains that people have the choice to be actors, allies or accomplices; in order to be a true agent of justice, one must be an accomplice:

T – Take in the information

U – get Uncomfortable

G – Get going

Randall Schober

Shober is an associate professor of management at PLNU with over 20 years of experience in non-profit and for-profit entrepreneurship. His presentation focused on the idea of having an entrepreneurial approach to failure, which is to look at it as something that is simply a part of the process. He explains that failure should not be crippling, but an opportunity to pivot.

“We can use this entrepreneurial approach to shape a generation instead of shaping a business,” Shober said.

Jessica Matthews

Assistant professor of kinesiology and integrative wellness Jessica Matthews is passionate about inspiring others to thrive in their lives physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially while simultaneously serving the greater good.

She claimed that wellness isn’t found outside of ourselves, but is conscious and self-directed. It is an active process. Matthews also explained that one way to increase wellness is to “catch, check and change your thoughts” to promote the wellness you want to see in your mind, body and soul.

Jonathan Villafuerte

Last, but certainly not least, Jonathan Villafuerte graduated from PLNU in 2009 with a degree in psychology becoming a first-generation college graduate. After immigrating from Mexico, Villafuerte’s family faced many hardships and injustices in San Diego’s inner-city. After receiving a full-ride scholarship to PLNU, he has since dedicated his life to social justice and service to his students.

Villafuerte reminded the audience to reclaim and reframe their story with relentless advocacy and radical compassion.

“Transformed people,” said Villafuerte “have the ability to transform people.”


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