CAMPUSPEAK


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Chris Blackburn has served as a professional in higher education for the past seven years, encouraging students to reach their highest potential.

With keynotes on healthy body image and behavior, Chris shares a new perspective and insight into these issues.

Chris has always been a strong-willed, independent, funny-guy, but his internal struggles with weight, body image and his own obesity eventually spiraled out of control. Entering college at close to 300 pounds, Chris found solace in food. His exercise plan consisted of walks to and from class and cleaning the fraternity house. If Chris wanted to escape an early demise, something had to change.

In 2006, Chris became a contestant representing West Virginia on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. During the eight months to follow, Chris’ life was reshaped physically, mentally and emotionally. He gained important lessons about triumph, personal rewards and self-reflection—and he lost more than 100 pounds.

Today, Chris is still strong-willed, independent and funny, but he’s also an athlete, marathoner and triathlete. While his relationship with food is still complicated, it is no longer his only mechanism toward happiness or comfort.

Chris made a memorable impact on our students that I believe will be a lasting one. His willingness to be vulnerable and real made sure that his points were on target. It was a chance for students to laugh and enjoy themselves, yet learn something valuable about a struggle encountered by many of their peers.

Katy Martin, Pfeiffer University




One Size Fits Most

With more than 60 percent of the U.S. population overweight and an estimated 10 million Americans suffering from eating disorders, Chris’ interactive keynote, One Size Fits Most hits a critical issue at a critical time. The keynote reflects a story of experience and determination. A former contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser, Chris is all too familiar with what it takes to live a healthy life, both physically and mentally.

One Size Fits Most gives individuals the opportunity to live a day in Chris’ mind as he reflects on his emotional connection to food, his “introduction to the gym,” on gaining the freshman 50 and his confrontation with friends, family and his conscience. Many in today’s student audiences will relate to his struggles, while others will be challenged to imagine how the issues surrounding weight and body shape affect our interactions, societal values and the self esteem of our friends and loved ones.

“We as individuals, as communities and as members of society have the opportunity for both mental and physical health, but we have to be willing and ready to make that decision,” Chris said. “Whether you’re someone struggling, personally, with weight issues or someone who wants to be a better friend to those who do, it begins with changing the conversation and getting real.”

Chris’ program is perfect for all wellness programming, particularly for those events focused on body image. He is not a nutritionist or a personal trainer, but he is like millions of Americans struggling with weight and food issues. His keynote teaches audiences to be accepting of others, to be bold in setting goals, to be demanding with regard to quality of life and to be conscious of how your community affects your choices. Not everyone can go on The Biggest Loser, but the lessons that Chris learned there, and the life lessons he’s learned since will resonate with both men and women in your campus community. They will learn to make healthier choices for themselves and how to help their friends in their struggles.

“Choosing to be healthy is not a one time choice. It’s a choice you make every day, and it looks different for each person,” Chris said. “But becoming conscious of that choice is the key to living a healthier, more rewarding life.”

Rewriting the Man Code

Messages about masculinity and the societal role of men have been turned upside down in the last two decades. Understandably, many young men are a bit lost—unsure of their role, struggling for validation and turning to unhealthy behaviors as a means of coping. What happens when we put down the video game controller and take conscious actions to be a man of character? What happens when we stop allowing an outdated notion of manhood to hold us back?

In Rewriting the Man Code, Chris addresses the conflicted mindset of the modern man, dispelling labels, limitations and outdated expectations of how masculinity shapes our inner thoughts and outer expression. He provides male students with a framework to help them live a life with character, value and determination.

“College men are struggling. We are getting worse grades; we are studying less and partying more; we put more effort into scoring the next touchdown than we do in getting an education; and our new life motto is ‘take the path of least resistance’,” Chris explains. 

If you agree that men’s programming is as vital to the health of today’s campus as women’s programming, then this keynote is an important funding priority. Chris is a great choice for men’s leadership events, fraternity wellness convocations, new student orientation and more.

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