Rev. Run to speak at Washburn

The great debate Joseph “Rev. Run” Simmons and Camille Cooper are two speakers brought to Washburn University last fall. While each promoted a positive message and discussed ways to better yourself as an individual and student, discrepancy between the events, hosted by WSGA and CAB respectively, was in how many students attended these events.

Washburn students have been watching him on MTV for years, and now they’ll get the chance to interact with him live because the Washburn Student Government Association is bringing Rev. Run to Washburn as their final lecture series speaker for the semester.

This Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Washburn Room of the Memorial Union, Rev. Run will be available in a question-and-answer session, with no admission fee, until 8:30.

Rev. Run, whose real name is Joseph Simmons, is a rapper-turned-reverend who was one-third of the rap group Run-DMC. More recently, he is known for his reality show on MTV, “Run’s House,” where viewers see the dynamics of the Simmons family.

“[The show] is really neat for Rev. Run because he is able to portray how reality shows don’t have to be negative and crazy,” said Caley Onek, president of WSGA. “You can have a successful show that portrays how you should live your life and how you should treat your family and respect them.”

Onek said that the committee in charge of finding lecturers chose Simmons for a variety of reasons. They had to compare the quality and name recognition of the speaker with the price that was asked, but Simmons had the originality that the committee was looking for.

“We were trying to get some name recognition that the community as well as the students could get excited for,” said Onek, “He brings a different dynamic than past speakers that we’ve had, and we’re always looking for something new, something different, something exciting.”

Simmons’ commitment to Zoë ministries and his family cover an aspect of life that Onek says many college students don’t consider much.

“When we’re in college we kind of get away from our families, and it’ll bring back the importance of family,” she said.

WSGA has been promoting this as the part of Washburn Lecture Series, but Onek said that it’s actually a pretty big departure from the usual format of the series. Generally there’s about a half hour to an hour of lecture, and then a 15-minute opportunity for the audience to ask questions. After, the speaker may take a bit to sign books or take photos, but speaker-student interaction is limited.

“With Rev. Run, it’s going to be set up like a Q&A, there’s going to be a lot of audience interaction,” said Onek. “He wants to stay after, he wants to take pictures with the students, he wants to meet them, he wants to sign autographs.”

Onek said WSGA is excited about the potential for an entertaining yet educational event, but she personally is looking forward to learning Simmons’ life story.

“I’m excited to hear about what he’s learned throughout his life, and about his personal journey from rapper to reverend.”