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Missed Bryan Stevenson’s visit? You’re in luck

November 7, 2016
Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson

If you missed Bryan Stevenson’s visit to NIU on Oct. 24, it’s not too late to find out what he had to say and continue the conversation around injustice, humanity and mercy. As an NIU faculty, staff or student, you have exclusive access to Bryan Stevenson’s remarks during his NIU visit using your NIU username and password.

Stevenson, author of this year’s common reader, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, and the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, works to fight against poverty and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system. Over 60 percent of NIU’s freshmen class participated in the Common Reading Experience (CRE) this year by using the book in their UNIV 101 and/or English 103 classrooms; many of these students also attended at least one CRE event this fall semester.

Kelly Smith, director of First- and Second-Year Experience, invites you to continue to capitalize on this common intellectual experience by using the recordings of Bryan Stevenson’s presentations on our campus, “I encourage you to continue the important conversations around issues of inequality, mental health, racism and classism using the CRE as a resource. The CRE lays a common foundation for addressing relevant issues through sharing of information, different viewpoints and engaging our students in critical thinking.”

Consider viewing (and/or sharing with others in the NIU community) all or parts of Bryan Stevenson’s 4:00 p.m. and/or 6:30 p.m. presentation to continue these important discussions inside or outside of the classroom. Using NIU employee or student IDs and passwords, the  4:00 p.m. presentation to UNIV 101/201 students can be accessed at The 6:30 p.m. presentation to NIU faculty, staff, students and the greater community can be accessed at

After the presentations, students were asked to complete the following sentence stems as an opportunity to reflect on their experience. They shared,

 “I feel inspired to …

  • find the way I can use my life to affect change.”
  • do the right thing even if it’s the hard thing to do.”
  • to do more than just hope something changes.“
  • find a void in society that only I can fill.”

 “I learned …

  • [that] I enjoy seeing and hearing other’s views or ideas to broaden my own thinking.”
  • how to value and respect others more, as well as myself.”
  • people aren’t always what they seem.”
  • that in order to change the world, we must be proximate to those in need.”

“I want to know more about …

  • how to create change in my field.”
  • how [I can] create a positive discussion about racism in this country.”
  • what I can do to help resolve this issue.”
  • opportunities to effect change.”

Stevenson’s visit was sponsored by the Provost’s Office, the College of Law and First- and Second-Year Experience, and is one of two other Diversity Dialogue events this fall. 

For more information about this and other CRE events, please visit or contact First- and Second-Year Experience at [email protected] or 815-753-0028.