Ignite Georgetown, a speaker series to be held this month, hopes to up the intensity of lectures with fast-paced presentations on topics from university history to Batman.
The program brings together 20 students and faculty members who will give five-minute lectures on topics of their choosing. The event is unique, however, in its format — each presentation consists of 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds.
Although Ignite talks are held in more than 100 cities, Georgetown became the first university to hold Ignite talks last spring. Alex Henderson (COL ’12) organized the series last April after attending an Ignite talk in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C.
Henderson said more than 150 people attended the university’s first Ignite event last year, a much higher number than he anticipated. Topics presented ranged from Norse mythology to Ecuadorian gang violence.
Twenty speakers will take the stage again at 8 p.m. on March 21 in Reiss 103 to share their knowledge on a variety of subjects.
Evan Monod (COL ’14), who has cerebral palsy, will talk about the portrayal of disabilities in pop culture.
“I’m very prone to conversation, so being able to condense what I want to say was challenging, but I think it’s rewarding,” Monod said.
Michael Fischer (SFS ’13), a columnist for The Hoya, participated in last spring’s Ignite talks and will lecture on the history of the university this years.
“I feel personally, having been on campus for over three years, that one thing that Georgetown lacks is the opportunity for students to share their passions, particularly their academic passions,” he said.
Other presentations this year will include an overview of the nonprofit organization Invisible Children by Kirsten Harris (SFS ’14), a talk on the history of Batman and the character’s cultural significance by Nick RisCassi (COL ’13) and a discussion about composing and producing hip-hop songs by Tate Tucker (COL ‘14).
The event’s four-person executive board hopes to add another speaker series next fall. Henderson would like to eventually integrate the program with academic departments and student organizations as a platform for presenting the results of research projects or raising awareness about social issues.
“What’s nice about Ignite is that it is essentially a format rather than an organization,” Henderson said. “It’s a forum for conversation that can be used for a wide variety of purposes.”