PITTSBURG - Pittsburg State University has been granted a 12-month license to host a TEDx event, thanks to the work of Courtney Blankenship, legislative affairs director for the Student Government Association.

"Intellectual growth, innovation, and the free exchange of ideas are all valued themes at Pittsburg State University, so I thought it only appropriate for us to host a TEDx event," said Blankenship, who is a senior in political science and communication from Pratt, Kansas.

The first event will be held March 27 in the Miller Theatre at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.

"We're really excited to start planning this," Blankenship said. "We're currently looking for speakers and will allow students, faculty, and community members to audition."

Those auditions will be held in January or February.

She was inspired, she said, when she watched TEDx and TED Talks videos for the first time a few years ago.

"I was amazed by how passionate the speakers were about the topics they were giving speeches about," Blankenship said. "No two speeches sounded the same, even if they were on the same topic. The speakers each had new and different ways of looking at things, each person bringing something new to the table."

Blankenship said TEDx promotes diversity and inclusion as well as critical thinking on every level.

"The speeches are not about the speakers as individuals — the speeches are about the ideas that the speakers have," she said. "It's not about the person's credentials, it's about what they have to offer the world in terms of creativity and a refreshing perspective."

Because PSU is a first-time TEDx host, the site will be limited to having 100 people in the audience.

"If the event goes smoothly, then we can have bigger audiences in future events," said Blankenship.

After PSU's event ends, the University may reapply for another license to hold future events, she said.

About TEDx, x = independently organized event

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. The two annual TED Conferences invite the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes or less. Many of these talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.

The annual TED Conference takes place each spring in Vancouver, British Columbia. TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TED Talks are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world get help translating their wishes into action; TEDx, which supports individuals or groups in hosting local, self- organized TED-style events around the world, and the TED Fellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.