Tackling issues that matter
September 10, 2020

Steve (Hanqi) Su ’22 watched. Lilian Adams ’21 talked. Now, together, they want others to have these opportunities.

Su (Shanghai, China) remembers watching Molly McGrane ’20 speak on “The Value of Dysfunction” at the TEDx conference hosted by Culver Academies on Dec. 6, 2017. Her story was powerful, he explained, but as a member of the speech team, he was equally impressed with the power of her delivery.

Adams (South Bend, Indiana) presented at the initial Eagle Talks last February. Focused on student mental health, the TED-style evening was attended by approximately 100 people. Adams spoke about “My Journey with Mental Health” after being sexually assaulted twice in a matter of months. While it was difficult to do, Adams discovered her presentation not only helped her personally, it was also beneficial to others in attendance.

Now, together, they are working with Humanities instructor Jennifer Cerny to make Eagle Talks an on-going event where students, faculty, and staff would be able to present their ideas or stories. The goal is to continue to leverage the experiences and insights of Culver students, faculty, staff, and alumni to help members of the school community grow as individuals and as a community, Cerny explained.

With Su still currently at home because of the pandemic, he has been doing the online recruiting and Adams has been handling the on-campus work.

“Our plan is to have one or two waves every year,” Su explained. The “waves” will consist of an event where two to four speakers will make their presentations. But those with simple gripes need not apply.

Each presenter will have to dedicate the time to do any needed research to back up their statements and work on perfecting their talks. The other Eagle Talks members would offer their combined expertise to help make each talk as effective as possible. Some people have opted out because of the potential time commitment.

“It’s a long process,” Su explained. “It’s your choice to do it. If you want to make a difference, you will have to put in the time. If you have the passion, we have a place for you.”

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