January 1st, 2015

Dear TEDxCUNY Community,

What a year it has been! With a planning process that began in earnest in January of 2014 and a license approval for our first TEDxCUNY conference in July (thank you, TED!), this has been quite the year for us. We proudly produced our very first event in November. Wow. It's hard to believe, and saying that still gives me chills. I humbly thank all of you for joining us on this journey, and I look forward to your continued participation: we have big, exciting plans for the future!

I'd like to put TEDxCUNY's "2014" in perspective, by the numbers. We started with a team of 14 Executive Board members, with responsibilities ranging from tech to communications to logistics. We have a team of 35 ALL STAR volunteers, without whom the conference wouldn't have happened. Thank you, volunteers! We had 11 CUNY (The City University of New York) staff and faculty members assisting us, which does not include Chancellor Milliken, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Sanchez, and Dean Kirschner of Macaulay Honors College, our stellar opening speakers. Thanks to you, and to the entire staff at Macaulay Honors College! Also, many thanks to Adam Walker and the CUNY TV team, who shot TEDxCUNY in its entirety. These were just the folks at our main venue...7 CUNY campuses were also involved, hosting well-attended watch parties. 17 TEDxCUNY Campus Liaisons ran the show on their own campuses. We could not have done it without them! 

Our most important guests were our speakers. 14 incredibly talented individuals sang, painted, and talked their way into our hearts and minds. If you haven't already, please watch their talks here: tedxcuny.com/videos. We had 250 guests join us at Macaulay Honors College, and another 185 watching at our campus watch parties! Our live stream reached a peak of 60 unique viewers, and was watched by CUNY exchange students all the way in Paris and Berlin. How cool is that? 

Our online network and community is strong, and with 3 more to be released, our videos already have a total of 9,559 views. We have 679 followers on Facebook, 186 on Twitter, and 136 on Instagram. The TEDxCUNY family continues to grow - I look forward to seeing these numbers rise as we enter the new year. 

TEDxCUNY was founded with the mission of spreading and sharing the incredible ideas of the CUNY community. With over 500,000 students across 24 campuses, CUNY presents the most accessible and available opportunity to get a college education that many individuals will ever have. From culinary arts and hospitality management to philosophy, Latin, computer science, and electrical engineering, there is path for everyone. Our mission from the beginning was to work to unite the often disconnected CUNY campuses and student bodies around a singular mission of changing the world through ideas, and it brings me great pleasure to see us well on our way. There are so many more CUNY ideas left to share, and we're not stopping! 

Some 2015 hints: we've almost settled on a date, we're working on moving to a larger venue (meaning more of you will be able to attend), and our curators are already hard at work (and are taking a hard look at some incredible new ideas emerging from the Advanced Science Research Center). We're establishing a TEDxCUNY Faculty and Staff Advisory Board to help guide us through the coming months and years, and we're actively looking for more individuals to join our team. 2014 was a great year, but there is still much work to do, and many things upon which we can improve. Join us! 

Thank you to everyone who helped make our dream a reality in 2014. Stay tuned for a bigger, bolder, and even more accessible TEDxCUNY in the year to come. 

We wish you health and happiness in the new year.


Jake and the TEDxCUNY Team