Students filled the Clement Auditorium to the tune of Taylor Swift’s “Out of the Woods” to be inspired by three-time TEDx speaker Alex Sheen at APSU’s annual Unity Celebration on Wednesday, March16.
Sheen has been featured on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, “Good Morning America,” “the TODAY show,” “Steve Harvey,” CNN, The Los Angeles Times, NPR and many other programs. He speaks to audiences around the world about the importance of keeping a promise. Sheen spoke at more than 110 events in 2014, and he is a three-time TEDx closing speaker.
Miss Austin Peay 2015 Hannah Johnstono introduced Sheen.
He began his keynote with a question: “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go viral?”
Sheen said he started the “Because I Said I Would” organization after his father passed away.
“Because I Said I would” is a social movement and nonprofit dedicated to the betterment of humanity through promises made and kept. Since Sept. 4, 2012, more than three million promise cards have been distributed in over 153 countries by request only.
In 2012, Sheen lost his father to small cell lung cancer. After Sheen gave his father’s eulogy, he handed out his first set of promise cards.
He said that his father was an average man. His father was not a household name or a local celebrity, but he did have a legacy that Sheen would carry out after his father’s death.
“My father was a man of his word,” Sheen said. “He was there for me when I needed him.”
Sheen has made and kept promises to many nonprofit organizations around the world in an attempt to make the world a better place. He told story after story about promise cards, many of which were written by strangers and how these cards have motivated him to grow this movement into something bigger than he had imagined.
In 2016, “Because I said I Would” will be forming local chapters. Each chapter will be known as an echo, and each echo will be a group of people who come together to make and keep, promises to better their community and people in need.
Sheen said every small deed each person does helps enact meaningful change.
“The power of one is what changes the world because when enough of us believe in our own commitments, that’s what adds up,” Sheen said.
Students that attended the Unity Celebration left inspired by what Sheen had to say about promises including Ashley Boucher, a freshman education major.
Boucher said promises require complete dedication.
“To me, a promise means something that you are dedicated to with all of your heart, no matter what happens,” Boucher said.
Natalie Drudy, a freshman theater and dance major, said college students sometimes get too preoccupied with their day-to-day lives to make each day important.
“College students sometimes live in a bubble,” Drudy said. “We spend so much time focusing on the future that we forget to make the present count.”
Sheen ended the event with a quote by George Bell.
“You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up.”
If you are interested in learning more about “Because I Said I Would,” visit BecauseISaidIWould.com