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'Chicken Soup for the Soul' writer to visit ASU

January 25, 2011

Tony D’Angelo speaks in stark terms when it comes to higher education in this country and when it comes to the importance of today’s students getting engaged in their schooling and extracurricular activities.

“Have a real understanding of what your passion is,” says the No. 1 contributing author and editor of “Chicken Soup for the College Soul,” the New York Times 1999 bestseller. “Life is too short to do things you suck at.”

D’Angelo, chief visionary officer of College EmPowerment, will visit ASU’s West campus, Jan. 31, to talk with students about “Get engaged, involved and empowered!” D’Angelo’s appearance is from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., in La Sala A in the University Center Building (UCB). He will be available for a meet-and-greet a half-hour before and a half-hour after the event.

A graduate of West Chester University in Pennsylvania who received his bachelor’s degree in public health, D’Angelo has canvassed more than 2,250 colleges and universities during the past 15 years, trying to better understand what students believe they are missing in their collegiate experience. He says it took him just six months to find the answer.

“Most college students go to college to get a degree, but not an education,” he says. “My challenge is to get the student population engaged, involved, empowered and connected. I say, ‘Become a fixer, not just a fixture,’ because when you do, the experience will become more meaningful – you will discover who you are, what you will become and what you will give back.”

Through his role in the creation of “Chicken Soup for the College Soul,” as well his subsequent publication of his “Inspiration” series of books and “The College Bluebook,” D’Angelo has been regularly featured across a wide variety of national media, including CNN, where he was described as “the personal development guru of his generation.” SPIN Magazine compared him to the likes of world-renowned motivational speaker Anthony Robbins.

He points to studies conducted by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) that have tracked a shift in undergraduate students’ education and professional objectives over the years. While at one time students listed the raising of a family as the most important lifetime objective, in a Fall 2009 HERI study, for the first time since 1984, students reported their No. 1 goal was to be well off financially. He sees the next shift trending toward the development of a meaningful purpose in life – what he calls the purposeful intent behind being financially healthy.

“My message to students is this: you must get a college education,” he says. “You must get involved. Do not be average. Don’t just aim for the degree. Get your education and get empowered.”