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Scott Bigelow | 910.521.6351 | scott.bigelow@uncp.edu
University Communications and Marketing

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Noted author speaks to UNCP’s first-year students

Author Paul Loeb encouraged an audience of more than 125 first-year students at UNC Pembroke to become engaged citizens and to bring their friends with them.

Paul Loeb with StudentsThe author, whose book “Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times” was the common read for all UNCP’s first year students, had three speaking engagements at the university on October 31.

If Krystal Bartow is a typical freshman, Loeb was in the right place at the right time.

“I’m not involved now, but I’m looking,” Bartow said. “I was thinking of majoring in marketing, and now I think social work is what I want to do. I am interested in social issues and women’s empowerment.”

Loeb encouraged young people like Bartow to jump in.

“I’m in favor of people jumping in, even of they don’t know all the answers,” he said. “Part of the challenge is knowing you don’t know everything. To work for social change, you need two things: a leap of faith and intentionality.”

Loeb said making change requires convincing others to join your cause. He recalled what Nelson Mandela said about the ‘multiplication of courage’ when people get together for a purpose.

“You don’t know who is sitting next to you,” Loeb continued. “They may be a future Nobel Peace Prize winner, if you get them involved.”

A Stanford University graduate, Loeb is the author of five books and he is a frequent speaker at colleges and universities. He writes about making change from the individual’s point of view. He is a believer in the power of the human spirit, and during the election season, he believes students should vote.

Almost every hand in the audience raised when Loeb asked how many in the room are registered voters. He was pleased with the response, but he said voting is not enough.

“The polls say the presidential candidates are literally tied, and you are in a battleground state,” Loeb said. “Voting makes a difference.

“Getting others to vote magnifies your vote,” he said. “I have volunteered in every election of my life.”

The author opened the floor the questions. One student wanted to know how to get other people involved in an AIDS project he hopes to join in Kenya.

“It’s scary for people to get involved,” Loeb said. “There are stories you could tell about the lives of real people and explain the benefits to humanity of what you are doing.

“Then, tell them ‘no amount is too small’ if you get enough people involved,” he said.

Loeb has been on a college speaking tour from the mountains to the coast of North Carolina. His daylong visit at UNCP was sponsored by the Office of Community and Civic Engagement and First Year Programs.

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