Flipping ‘ME to WE,’ Distinguished Speaker Series Guests Inspire Islanders to Change the World

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In a time where stories of struggle and hardship seem to be the new norm, it’s up to the next generation to be the changing force for good they wish to see in the world. Craig Kielburger, a social entrepreneur, passionate humanitarian, co-founder of the WE Movement, and New York Times best-selling author, says now is the time for young people all over the nation to take a stand and make a difference through small acts of good.

“Tonight’s theme is making doing, good doable. What that fundamentally means is that I believe each one of us wants to create a better community and a better world but may not know where to start,” said Kielburger. “Tonight, we are going to talk about small but powerful actions that we can make in our daily lives. Tonight, I hope to plant the seeds that might inspire you to make a difference.”

Spencer West, author, ME to WE inspirational speaker, and “world change warrior” joined Kielburger on stage during the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi fall 2018 Distinguished Speaker Series on Oct. 16 which kicked-off with a free student forum at 2 p.m. and ended with a 7 p.m. evening lecture. During their talk titled, “ME to WE: Making Doing Good, Doable” they focused on how the Coastal Bend community could create change in schools through teaching, how to inspire students through education and service learning, and how small but powerful actions could encourage companies to make products with a purpose.

Carlos Lerma Sr., business professionals of America adviser and business teacher at West Oso High School brought a group of his students to the student forum to increase their exposure to different speakers.

“A lot of high school students are still finding themselves, so it’s great when they get the opportunity to listen to people talk, give them ideas, and kind of guide them in the right direction,” he said. “It gives our students a good insight into what’s going on outside of our community.” 

During the free student forum, Kielburger, an activist since the age of 12, and West spoke directly to local middle schools and high schools, along with Islander on how they could become the next generation of social change agents. They shared personal stories of how they overcame adversity and encouraged students to get involved by spearheading service-learning campaigns and fundraising initiatives like WE Scare Hunger, WE Create Change, and WE Are Silent.

“This lecture will spark a little bit of inspiration inside of all of us,” said Cathryn Martinez, a business management major, president of Islander Women in Business, and student forum attendee. “And that is definitely needed in this climate.”

At the end of the forum, students asked questions about where Kielburger and West get their inspiration, their view on the accessibility of basic human necessities, how they overcome their biggest weakness, and the best piece of advice they have received.

“The things that I take strength from is at the end of the day, you just have to try,” said West, whose life has been marked with both obstacles and triumph as a result of losing his legs at the age of five. “Whether you succeed or whether you fail, it doesn’t matter. But it’s really important that you just try.”

Dr. Kelly M. Quintanilla, president and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Tom Mundell, vice president of Institutional Advancement welcomed Kielburger and West to the stage for the evening lecture where they again shared their mission of getting involved and helping to make a difference in the world with the Coastal Bend community.

“At A&M-Corpus Christi we pride ourselves on making an impact, and I hope our speakers inspire you to make your Islander Impact on this campus, in our community, and throughout the world,” encouraged President Quintanilla.

Each year, the A&M-Corpus Christi Distinguished Speaker Series brings accomplished national and international speakers to campus to provide insight, provoke thought, and stimulate conversation about the country’s most compelling issues. Past speakers include Dr. James McLurkin, senior hardware engineer at Google and MIT graduate, Dr. Sylvia Earle, oceanographer and explorer, Dr. Brian Greene, American theoretical physicist and string theorist. Sponsors of the fall 2018 Distinguished Speaker Series included ICA Radio, KRIS Communications, La Palmera, Cooper Outdoor, AEP Texas, Whataburger, and Pizza State. To learn more about the Distinguished Speaker Series, visit dss.tamucc.edu.