March 23-31, 2017
Examining Freedom of Speech at App State

The Free Hugs Project with Ken E. Nwadike Jr.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 / 8:00pm
(Note: All patrons of Legends events must present a valid I.D. for entry and be at least 18 years old)
Free event

Ken Nwadike, CEO of Superhero Events and Director of the Hollywood Half Marathon, attended the Boston Marathon to spread love and encourage runners with free hugs, equipped with a “Free Hugs” sign, a camera and a tripod. The video of his efforts went viral on social media, and a movement was born. Now Nwadike travels far and wide, inspiring students, educators and business professionals to make a positive impact in their schools, workplace and community.

“While viewing the devastation of the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon, I was determined to be a participant in the next race. I failed to qualify by just 23 seconds, so I decided to attend the event in a different way. I provided free hugs to runners as encouragement along the route. This simple act made national news headlines and lifted runners spirits. Hugs produced smiles and gave runners an extra boost as they ran.”
- Ken E. Nwadike, Jr.

Ken E. Nwadike, Jr.

Ken E. Nwadike, Jr., is one of the nation’s top youth motivational speakers for high school assemblies and college programs. He has spoken at hundreds of schools and conferences, inspiring students and professional groups of all ages to be the change that they wish to see in society. Best known for his viral videos on Facebook and Youtube, which have reached hundreds of millions of views, during Ken’s keynote speeches, he inspires students, educators, and business professionals to make a positive impact in their schools, workplace, and community. Nwadike Jr., has been featured on CNN, FOX, New York Times, Boston Globe, San Diego Union-Tribune, Buzzfeed, NBC, USA Today, and many other major news sites.

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Say What? Examining Freedom of Speech at App State

Appalachian State University, like universities across the nation, is faced with the challenge of balancing a respect for and obligation to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution with an institutional culture of respect for thought, belief and community.

  • When members of our community express themselves in ways that belittle or degrade others, how do we address these actions?
  • When members of our community view expressions of speech as threats, how do we ensure their safety?
  • How can we protect freedom of speech and thought for all members of our community?
  • Can we – or should we – use policy to address these matters?

Through a weeklong series of conversations, panel discussions, speeches and forums with experts in the field, our community will explore these questions, and others.

Join the conversations!

Learn more | View the entire schedule