Starting this year, a committee of Brandeis Faculty members has been tasked with the responsibility of bringing to campus a Richman Fellow. This person must be “active in public life whose contributions have had a significant impact on improving American society, strengthening democratic institutions, advancing social justice or increasing opportunities for all citizens to realize and share in the benefits of this nation.”
Stephen Colbert should be strongly considered as candidate for Richman Fellow for the 2013-2014 Academic Year.
He has an extremely significant impact on American life. Millions have watched his show, read his books, listened to his CDs, and found themselves in stiches at his satirical humor. He currently polls highest as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and for a US Senate seat in South Carolina. He held a rally in Washington attended by over 300,000 devoted followers. He has changed the way many people look at the country and the World. Viewers young and old have been politically and socially charged to the point of taking important action.
Every weeknight, Stephen Colbert uses his unique brand of satire to poke fun at the world we live in. Millions of Americans have tuned in and asked important questions about our Government. For example, Colbert recently lampooned the Super Pac system by opening his own Super Pac, “Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.” Americans took notice, news outlets reported, and politicians were challenged. This goes beyond a simple chuckle. Colbert made a clear and honest attack on the broken democratic system. In order to strengthen democratic institutions, first someone must questions them. Colbert serves the nation by pointing out the faults of the system.
More importantly, with the money he raised, Colbert took steps to make change. The Washington Post recently reported that. Three charities for hurricane relief each will receive $125,000 and the rest to groups working for campaign finance reform and openness: The Center For Responsive Politics and the Campaign Legal Center.
Colbert has used his celebrity to help some citizens who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice. In September of 2010, Colbert was called upon to testify to Congress on the situation for migrant farmers. He brought his satire, of course, but also brought important points about the struggling, underpaid farmers. He has also supported several charities including Autism Speaks, Feeding America, and Global Fund for Women.
Finally, bringing Colbert to Brandeis University would certainly give the University the now famous “Colbert Bump.” Colbert brings with him a wealth of exposure unlike other public figures. Colbert reports about such visits on his show for days, bringing back clips and creating running gags. For example, after University of Wisconsin-La Crosse changed their Mascot’s name to Colbert in his honor, the University became a regular feature on the show. Colbert could be crucially important for building Brandeis’ name recognition and viral web presence.
The student body would be incredibly impressed if Stephen Colbert was brought to campus by the Richman Committee. His visit would signal to all that this is a fellowship with staying power that can bring real celebrities with real clout.