Fall Keynote Speaker: Tom Kreiglstein


Photo Courtesy of Sean Browne

Sean Browne, Editor in Chief

Most keynote speakers don’t make pop culture references or take “selfies” with their audience. Then again Tom Krieglstein isn’t like most keynote speakers.

Pace’s Student Government Association, Center for Student Development & Campus Activities, Residential Life, Counseling Services, and Dean for Students Lisa Moscaritolo, held its Student Leader Fall Keynote in the Gottesman room in Kessel on Friday afternoon.

Krieglstein lead the address with his speech titled, “Engage the Unengaged” which was centered around campus involvement, as he feels not enough students engage in campus activity.

“People will get engaged in a community when they feel welcomed and connected into that community,” Krieglstein said. “Most people are not good at creating the culture of a community, but I do think everybody wants to be a part of a community.”

Kreiglstein engaged his crowd by playing music and encouraging attendees to take as many group photos as possible. Krieglstein utilizes music to describe his message, which he calls “the dance theory.”

“Everything in the speech is about [the students] and how they can connect to the message,” Krieglstein said. “It’s not my music, it’s their music. It’s what’s going to connect with them throughout the speech.”

To explain the theory, Krieglstein invited eight students to the stage to dance, the students in the middle were actively dancing, while the students on the outside who were not dancing were referred to as “neutrals.”

“The center is where the action is and where the most involvement is happening because the students are dancing with each other,” Krieglstein said. “The neutrals represent every disengaged, uninvolved, and non-interested student in our community.”

Krieglstein believes that the “middle kids” are leaders, and it is up them to help engage with the “neutrals.”

“Your challenge as a leader is to build relationships so that someone feels part of a community,” Krieglstein said. “People on the edge are disengaged, and sometimes it’s easy to dismiss them, but we don’t want to. We want to recognize that everybody has potential, we have to find that potential and move the ‘neutrals’ to the middle.”

One of the methods to help “neutrals” become more engaged is the Free Hug campaign that Krieglstein developed 15 years ago.

It is a method in which someone offers free hugs to people anytime and anywhere. Krieglstein believes it’s a good way to help the “neutral” students gain more confidence.

“It just clicks because when we hug, it’s the perfect human to human moment,” Krieglstein said. “That activity brings the message of the dance floor theory to action.”

T student reaction was positive and graduate student, Edwin Rodriguez, felt the event was a great learning experience.

“After this event, I know I will utilize some of the things I learned,” said Rodriguez. “For example, I will say ‘hi’ to people more often and engage positive affirmations in the residence halls.”

Before students exited Gottesman, some of them lined up so they could give Krieglstein a free hug.