Krannert event gives ‘two minutes’ to save the world

By Stephanie Gomes

As wine glasses were filled, Vishal Chikkerur took the stage under lavender lights at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday night.

Chikkerur, graduate student, along with five other students, took part in “Save the World in Two Minutes,” an event giving students the chance to address a social issue and offer a solution.

The event, hosted by the University’s Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership, took place alongside Krannert’s “Uncorked,” a weekly wine-tasting event.

Students were chosen by the academy to address pressing social issues during the event. Topics ranged from legalization of marijuana to changing the electoral process, and each person was given two minutes to speak.

Chikkerur’s speech, “Changing Social Attitudes and Perspectives,” addressed the need to improve the individual before taking on bigger issues.

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“I think we need to make a concerted effort to fix ourselves first,” he said.

Tony Mendes, executive director of the academy, said the event was designed to allow students to express their creative ideas on how they might influence the world.

“A lot of people do not put the performing arts and entrepreneurship together,” he said. “But we define entrepreneurship as the channeling of innovation and creativity to produce value in our communities.”

Students can talk about what they are studying in the classroom and apply that knowledge to world issues, Mendes added.

“There is always a sense that big problems take big solutions, but what we want to get out is even a big solution can start with a small idea,” said Laura Hollis, associate director of the academy.

Mike Ross, director of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts, said he and Mendes worked together to create the event. He said Krannert was a natural venue for “Save the World in Two Minutes” because he views it as a gathering place for people of all walks of life, regardless of their particular interests or professions.

“This may be a performing arts center, but the performing arts are all about enriching the human spirit and unleashing our sense of potential as a human collective,” he said.

Mendes added he was pleased with the way the event turned out and hopes that more like it will take place on campus.

John Dyer, senior in LAS, said he comes every week for the wine and enjoyed the added entertainment.

“I like wine,” Dyer said. “And I’m trying to learn a few things.”