Forum brings visionaries to campus

This season’s roster offers a variety of speakers prepared to share their ideas

Speakers presenting “I am the Change” this Thursday in Schofield Hall.


Speakers presenting “I am the Change” this Thursday in Schofield Hall.

The 74th season of UW-Eau Claire’s The Forum Series kicks off with “I am the change,” a presentation from Ndaba Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 24 in Schofield Auditorium.

Presenting alongside Mandela are Bob Marley’s granddaughter, Dorisha Rita Claire Prendergast, and Trayvon Martin’s family lawyer, Jasmine Rand. The group will hone in on the idea of “the power of one,” or the change produced by working together to solve many of the world’s problems, according to The Forum Series website.

Kristen Schumaker, assistant director of leadership activities and involvement, said the committee that chooses the year’s speakers found out about Mandela’s presentation through a chance email.

“It matched the university’s focus on diversity and inclusion,” Schumaker said.

Schumaker said the Forum Committee chooses the season’s speakers a year in advance. The committee is comprised of five to six students, three community members and three faculty members.

While choosing speakers, Schumaker said the committee takes the year’s budget into account as well as making sure there is a variety of topics. Schumaker said she then takes their decisions and plans the events.

The second forum presentation is titled “No One Has Ever Seen Inside This Peanut Before: A Lifetime of Pleasures with Poetry” by Palestinian – American poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Her forum will focus on how she uses poetry as a pathway to explore life.

November’s forum, “Terms and Conditions May Apply,” is a speech by Cullen Hoback and will discuss his documentary, which was a namesake for the speech.

Hoback’s documentary trailer begins with this: “The greatest heist in history wasn’t about taking money. It was about taking ‘your’ information. And you agreed to all of it.”

Student Izzy Betker said she is excited for the program and how it will answer questions about the media she uses every day.

“Digital Privacy is huge in our society today,” Betker said.

Eric Hippie, a former NFL quarterback, is due to present in February. The title of his speech is “Real Men do Cry.”

According to, Hippie lost his 15-year-old son to a depression-induced suicide in 2000. Since then, he has worked to break down the stigmas surrounding mental illness. He also provides resources to audience members, elucidating the causes of depression and what steps might be taken.

Angela Windey, an Eau Claire business administration major, said she is a strong believer in Hippie’s message.

“It’s something that people need to hear about,” she said.

A Harvard Law professor, Lawrence Lessig, will present this March. His presentation, “The Republic Lost,” takes a look at the corruption money has produced within Congress, according to The Forum Series website.

“So many candidates do well because they get money,” student Ali Betz said. “It corrupts because then they’re under an influence. It’s something that not a lot of people are aware of.”

The final presentation of the season is “Beyond Fundamentalism: Religion, Tolerance, and the Modern World.”

Reza Aslan, PhD in the sociology of religions, has been a previous guest of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as well as The Colbert Report.

Aslan’s book, “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth” has been a No.1 new York Times Bestseller and has been discussed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

For more information about The Forum Series, visit