Speaker talks diversity and motivates students


Nationally acclaimed motivational speaker Steve Birdine spoke to a crowded Payne/Halverson Lobby on the importance of diversity on a college campus.

He said diversity is what makes life so interesting. People have to go out and learn about other cultures, meet different people and just enjoy life.

Birdine, who bills himself as a “motivator, diversity educator and risk taker,” also informed the audience of several important points of college life, talking about how to make the college experience the best it can be.

He said that the most important thing is to study, that people are at college to better themselves, emotionally, mentally, and educationally, so that they have more of a leg-up when they try to find jobs.

“To do the incredible, you have to dream the impossible,” Birdine said.

He said that if students put their mind to it, they can do anything. To get his point across, Birdine used examples from current events such as Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer who set history by capturing eight gold medals at this summer’s games in Beijing.

Another one of Birdine’s main points was to “dream big dreams.”

He explained this meant that if there are no dreams, there is no reason to live anymore.

Birdine gained national recognition from 2002 to 2005 when he was named among Ebony Magazine’s “100 Most Influential Blacks in the United States.” He also wrote the 1994 book, “A Common Sense Approach to Retaining Students of Color.”

This was Birdine’s third year speaking at NMU. He was brought here by the Multicultural Education and Resource Center (MERC) at NMU and the Peer Advising, Counseling, and Education (PACE).

The head of the PACE program, Michele Junak, said she arranged for Birdine to come and talk with students to promote the program.

“He has always been a great motivational speaker. That’s why we keep having him come back,” Junak said.

MERC is the office in charge of supporting diversity programs on NMU’s campus.

According to the MERC Web site, the goal of the office is “to build a vibrant, stimulating and safe learning community where cultural diversity is highly valued, differences are respected and people from all cultures and backgrounds flourish.”

PACE is a program offered by MERC that according to the programs Web site, is open to freshmen and encourages academic and personal development through the participation in learning communities as a means to academic success.