Arts and Lecture Series

Arts and Lecture Series

Penn State Berks Spring 2018 Arts & Lecture Series


Tuesday, February 6, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Step Afrika

Step Afrika! is the first professional dance Company in the world dedicated to the tradition of stepping. The Company began in 1994 as an exchange program with the Soweto Dance Theatre of Johannesburg, South Africa and has expanded to become an international touring Company presenting performance, residencies and workshops worldwide. Step Afrika! performs at more than 50 US Colleges and Universities each year, using stepping to promote the arts and commitment to higher education. The Company’s college shows feature highlights from Step Afrika!’s repertoire, an introduction to the history of stepping and a lot of audience participation. Step Afrika! gets people moving towards a greater appreciation for the arts and towards a better understanding of each other.  Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018
12:15 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Perkins Student Center Multi-Purpose Room

Dr. Chidi Achebe – Inequalities in Health: Why We Should All Care

Dr. Chidi Achebe, physician executive, who earned his MD at Dartmouth Medical School, and who has an MBA from the Yale University School of Management and an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Chidi Achebe is the son of the late Chinua Achebe, renowned African author of the novel Things Fall Apart and other distinguished works. (Nelson Mandela once said, “There was a writer named Chinua Achebe . . . in whose company the prison walls fell down”). In his professional endeavors Dr. Chidi Achebe advocates for healthcare equality. For his efforts in bridging health care disparities, Dr. Chidi Achebe was awarded the 2012 Dartmouth College Martin Luther King Award. Dr. Achebe is currently the President and CEO of AIDE - African Integrated Development Enterprise. He has served as the President and CEO of Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Centers as well as Medical Director of the Whittier Street Health Center and as Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

Additionally, we are offering a FREE dinner with Dr. Chidi Achebe! RSVP to if you would like to attend. Space is limited. The dinner will take place at 5:30 p.m. on February 21, 2018.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018
12:15 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.
Perkins Student Center MPR/Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Shaka Senghor: American Convicted Murderer, Author, and Lecturer

In 1991, Shaka Senghor was sent to prison for second-degree murder. Today, he lectures at many universities, is a leading voice on criminal justice reform, and an inspiration to thousands. Shaka Senghor was raised in a middle class neighborhood on Detroit’s east side during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic. An honor roll student and a natural leader, he dreamed of becoming a doctor--but at age 11, his parents' marriage began to unravel and the beatings from his mother worsened, sending him on a downward spiral that saw him run away from home, turn to drug dealing to survive, and end up in prison for murder at the age of 19, fuming with anger and despair.

As Senghor has stated, serving nineteen years in the Michigan Department of Corrections, including more than five years in solitary confinement, Senghor is very familiar with the inner workings of prison and the politics that play out on the state level and inside the prison walls. From his experience, there are two things he knows for sure: 1) prisons are a business and 2) prisons do not rehabilitate. In addition to these topics, he will cover issues like overcoming seemingly impossible odds, breaking out of self-imposed prisons, getting out and staying out, and avoiding the snares of imprisonment for youth. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

Additionally, we are offering a FREE dinner with Shaka Senghor! RSVP to if you would like to attend. Space is limited. The dinner will take place at 5:30 p.m. on March 14, 2018.


Wednesday, March 21, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Michael Franzese: Former Mob Boss for the Colombo Crime Family in NY

Michael Franzese grew up as the son of the notorious Underboss of New York’s violent and feared Colombo crime family. At his most affluent, he generated an estimated $5 to $8 million per week from legal and illegal businesses. It was a life filled with power, luxury…and deadly violence. In 1986, mafia boss, Michael Franzese was named one of the biggest money earners the mob had seen since Al Capone, by Vanity Fair. At the age of 35, Fortune Magazine listed him as number 18 on its list of the “Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses”, just 5 behind John Gotti. Michael Franzese is the only high ranking official of a major crime family to ever walk away, without protective custodies, and survive.

Determined to use the compelling experiences of his former life for the benefit of corporate executives, professional and student athletes, at-risk youth, church audiences, and for anyone seeking the inspiration to beat the odds and make positive changes in their lives, he has become a highly regarded motivator and a source of invaluable information. Franzese candidly describes how he survived dozens of grand jury appearances, 5 major racketeering indictments, 5 criminal trials, 7 years in prison and a Mafia death sentence. He tells how he engaged bankers, corporate executives, union officials and professional and student athletes in a wide variety of financial scams. His open and honest presentations are fresh and unique. Audiences are captivated by stories of his personal experiences in organized crime and genuinely affected by his powerful anti-crime messages and eye opening revelations. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

Additionally, we are offering a FREE dinner with Michael Franzese! RSVP to if you would like to attend. Space is limited. The dinner will take place at 5:30 p.m. on March 21, 2018.


Friday, April 13, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Perkins Student Center MPR

Dominic Frongillo: Taking Action in a Time of Change: How the Millennial Generation is Winning a Just & Sustainable Future

Outspoken advocate and internationally-recognized former elected official Dominic Frongillo will share his perspective as the youngest-ever councilmember in Caroline, NY, and delegate to UN climate talks on how young people around the world are leading successful impact enterprises, grassroots movements, and innovations for sustainability and political change. He will share inspiring stories from the front lines of the fight against climate change and for a sustainable future, from the United Nations climate negotiations in South Africa to rooftop solar innovations in California to winning a ban on fracking in New York. Participants will learn how to get off the ground directly after college to make a powerful impact for what truly matters. 

Dominic Frongillo made history at age 22 by becoming the youngest person to serve on the Town Council in Caroline, New York. A five-time delegate to the United Nations, in 2012, Frongillo founded Elected Officials to Protect New York, a successful bipartisan campaign of over 850 elected officials across the state that helped win New York's statewide ban on fracking. Internationally recognized for his work in climate change and clean energy, Frongillo is trained by Al Gore, served under Governor Paterson on New York's Climate Action Plan advisory panel, and is a board director for Black Oak Wind Farm, New York State's first community-owned wind farm. Frongillo speaks frequently at universities across the country such as Brown, Cornell, and Furman on topics of climate change, sustainability, and social movements. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

Additionally, we are offering a FREE dinner with Dominic Frongillo! RSVP to if you would like to attend. Space is limited. The dinner will take place at 5:30 p.m. on April 13.


Friday, April 27, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Hannah Hart

Hannah Hart is an entertainer and two-time New York Times best-selling author. She is also the creator and star of her award-winning, weekly web series “My Drunk Kitchen”, which has amassed millions of views since its first episode premiered in 2011. In 2012, Hannah launched her first scripted format "Hello, Harto,” a project that helped distribute food to local communities across America. These efforts in turn created Hannah’s philanthropic community ‘Have A Hart Day,’ an international, year-round initiative which encourages young leaders to volunteer their time in their own communities. Hannah was recognized by The White House for her ability to mobilize the youth through this initiative and she was invited to lead a discussion about millennial engagement with President Obama.

She was also named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, an annual list which highlights talented individuals under 30 years old across a variety of fields in 2015. Hannah’s first book "My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide to Eating, Drinking, and Going with Your Gut,” was based on her popular web series and spent six weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. Her sophomore book "Buffering: Unshared Tales Of A Life Fully Loaded" debuted at number four on the New York Times Bestseller List. Last year, Hannah starred in Legendary Digital Media’s film “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl,” a superhero action film with female-centric characters based on the popular 70’s series of the same name. Hannah also co-produced and starred in Lionsgate's comedy "Dirty 30," which released in theaters and on digital platforms. She recently announced her first-book deal with Lionsgate and plans to produce an LGBTQ rom-com as the first project under the new deal. Additionally, Hannah will soon be sharing her experiences dining across America in her own food and travel show set to air on the Food Network later this year. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.