Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide Talks sparks conversation


By Abbey Crain and Brooke Garner

Sam Gerard, Timothy Keele, Tiara Dees and Emily Broman filled the Ferguson Center Theatre Tuesday night with talk of community-wide revolutions and genetically modified organisms, sense of self and recycling in the fourth installment of Tide Talks.

The event focuses on getting students to understand they are able to start a revolution as long as ideas are thought through and shared.

“Every revolution starts with a single snap…but that snap doesn’t just stop with you,” David Phelps, president of Tide Talks said.

SGA senate member Sam Gerard kicked off the night discussing the importance of recycling on campus. Gerard started the One-On-One project, later coined as Recycle Bama, pairing a recycling bin with every trash can on campus.

Timothy Keele then took the stage, explaining the facts behind science “fears” like nuclear radiation and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Keele suggested foods with GMOs have health benefits and reduce famine.

Tiara Dees shared her passion for breaking down walls of discrimination and sexism in the gaming culture.

“No matter what interests you, awesome communities start with you,” Dees, a founder of UA gaming club ABXY, said.

Emily Broman rounded out the night talking about her involvement with Art to Life, a group devoted to giving elderly patients with Alzheimer’s a new sense of self through artful expression.

Giving students a platform in which to reach their peers and make them believe even the smallest of ideas are revolutionary may be Tide Talks’ mission, but at the center of the organization lies what Alec Owen, a member of the executive Tide Talks team, calls the human element.

“I went to the first meeting, and I realized how much energy David Phelps had, and I was like, ‘Can I please get involved?’”

David Phelps, co-founder of Tide Talks and a senior majoring in civil engineering, said his goal is to make people aware they are “awesome.”

“I grew up with the understanding that we’ve all been blessed by God by these gifts and skills, and people just need to leverage them for the greater good instead of thinking they can’t do it,” Phelps said.

Phelps and the seven other executive members of Tide Talks come from all corners of campus for one purpose – to empower students. The diversity of the group, Phelps said, helps to bring a variety of student speakers to the event.

“People just think that our campus isn’t progressing, that there’s maybe 10 or 15 people on campus that have great leadership skills and are going to go off and run banks, run companies and that kind of stuff, and do awesome stuff, but that’s not me,” Phelps said. “That’s not the narrative that Tide Talks wants to tell. That’s not the narrative that I believe in.”

Daniel Roth, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film, said Tide Talks meetings, which often include dance breaks to ease tension, help to propel each others’ ideas, in turn, giving students across campus the opportunity to spark ideas within the community.

“For me, it’s just about the community and just the way we are with each other,” Roth said. “New people come in, and the second they’re there, I feel like we’ve known them. Everybody’s so open, and nobody judges, and everybody has such an open mind.”

Katerina Peña, a senior majoring in advertising and public relations and co-founder of Tide Talks, is a member of the speech team – an opportunity she said is often taken for granted.

“You’re actually influencing someone,” Peña said. “Even if it’s just one little spark of an idea – you have done something.”

The core of Tide Talks is students. Their personalities and talents acquired from diverse backgrounds make up a group with one mission: to build up others.

“For the longest time I wanted to change things and for people to remember my name, but after Tide Talks, it’s not about me,” Peña said. “It’s making people think different, even if they don’t remember my face or my name. That’s definitely what I’ve learned from this.”

All of Tuesday’s Tide Talks speakers’ messages can be found on the website The next Tide Talks event will be Nov. 25 in the Ferguson Center Theatre.

More to Discover