Senior Randiss Hopkins speaks to crowd of 15K for We Day

By Satta Kendor

Randiss Hopkins’s role in founding the Remember Project allowed him to speak to 15,000 students and teachers at Illinois’ first We Day on Thursday at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont.

We Day Illinois, co-chaired by hip-hop artist Common, is an event young leaders get to attend by taking action on one local and global cause through the year-long We Act program. Selena Gomez, Jennifer Hudson, Tyrese Gibson, Magic Johnson and Martin Sheen, were among some of the speakers and performers at the event.

“I mean it’s very humbling … to be out there in front of so many youth that are so vibrant and excited to hear … what you have to say,” said Hopkins, senior jazz performance major. “It’s truly a blessing to be able to say a few words that may inspire them to create change in their own communities.”

Hopkins said he envisions the Remember Project having college students from all over the country give back to Chicago communities.

The purpose of the project is to engage college students in opportunities to be positive role models for inner-city youth in Chicago through social, educational and artistic experiences, according to the Remember Project website. Through this project, students are able to sign up for volunteer activities in Chicago.

Last year, Hopkins said only NIU students could participate in the Remember Project, but the organization has recently allowed students from different schools to join.

Hopkins’ mother, Robin Joiner Hopkins, said she has seen her son progress in his work and has been very dedicated in making the Remember Project a success.

“It has been phenomenal, I can’t even begin to explain what I really feel for my son,” Robin Joiner Hopkins said. “I’m so proud of him, all of his success, and I want him to just continue, keep striving for the best for himself.”

NIU President Doug Baker, who attended We Day, said young leaders play a major role in changing the world, because the young students are more influenced by college students, who are role models for them.

“I think it’s really inspirational … to see everybody from young students all the way on up to Martin Sheen, who’s a seasoned actor, speaking about how youth can get involved and change the world,” Baker said.

The Remember Project plays a major role in a number of areas at NIU, Baker said. Doing any kind of service project builds community on campus as students work to change the world, Baker said.

“I see the Remember Project going on past my lifetime,” Hopkins said. “I think it’s a greater good than just my generation. I wanna see this last for generations and generations so I think we would always have that reassurance that our next generation they’re in a good place because they have college students that always remember to give back to their communities.”