Living life in the front row

CLINTON OLSASKY, Executive Editor | [email protected]

On Thursday, students gathered in the Maucker Union Ballroom to hear Jon Vroman deliver a presentation entitled, “Living a Fearless Front Row Life.” Laughter, hugs and standing ovations were common occurrences throughout the hour-long event, which began at 7 p.m. The Service and Leadership Council (SLC) partnered with the Campus Activities Board (CAB) to bring in Vroman who, according to the official Front Row on Campus website, received Campus Speaker of the Year in both 2012 and 2013.

“We plan speakers and events for the entire university that focus on service and volunteering, as well as developing skills,” said senior accounting and finance major, Michelle Temeyer, co-executive of the Leadership Development Committee of the SLC. “So that’s why we partnered with CAB for this event to bring in Jon Vroman, who spoke about getting the most out of life by being engaged and enthusiastic about everything that you do.”

Vroman connected with his audience through personal anecdotes, references to “Fight Club” and exercises that stretched students’ comfort zones. One such exercise involved striking up a conversation with three strangers in the audience and taking a selfie with them.

Vroman’s personal and intimate speaking style was complemented with a simple core message, “to live life in the front row.” This primary tenet was inspired by a live concert Vroman attended at a young age, in which he observed the difference in experiences between the concertgoers in the front compared with those in the back.

Vroman provided a set of five core values that he said will help students put this philosophy into action. According to the official Front Row on Campus website, these values are: 1) Make authentic connections, 2) create your own reality, 3) be open to change, 4) commit fully and 5) contribute to others.

In addition to his motivational speaking career, Vroman founded the Front Row Foundation in 2005. The organization provides individuals and families suffering from serious illnesses with front row experiences at sports games, concerts, theatrical performances and other live events. According to the official Front Row on Campus website, the charity has raised over $1 million so far. Vroman incorporated this philanthropic endeavor into his overall message for students to “make the biggest impact within their campus and community.”

Many students left the event feeling inspired by Vroman’s positive message. Sophomore deciding major, Jasmine Beecham, member of the Leadership Development Committee for the SLC discussed one specific message she took away from the event.

“One of my favorite parts was how he pointed out that we should treat everyone like a rock star, because I think all people are important,” said Beecham. “Unfortunately, we don’t always treat them like they’re important, and they should know that they are.”

Sophomore interactive digital studies major Tim Scheve spoke of the unexpected impact we can have on others.

“I thought it was really life changing,” Scheve said,” and it really inspired me to do the best that I possibly can. What I got out of it is to just be more of a confident person and millions of lives will be changed.”

Jon Vroman stayed after the event ended to speak with students and take pictures. It was during this time that he talked about the message students could take from his speech.

“If there was one thing that the students could walk away with,” said Vromanm, “it would be the desire to stand up, step up and speak up. My mission is for people to not be spectators in the back but be participants up front. So the message, if it was one word, it would be courage.”

Students interested in learning more about Vroman and his movement can visit, where they will find productivity strategies that are aimed to maximize one’s day. Students can also go to to join the online community, join a Front Row club or start their own here on campus.