Published Oct 15, 2010Arcade Fire's latest album, The Suburbs, is a sprawling masterwork about, among other things, how it's okay to go back to your old neighbourhood. The message must have stuck with band member Will Butler, as he's heading back to a different kind of home: his old university.
The multi-instrumentalist has signed on to be the keynote speaker at Chicago institution Northwestern for its Civically Engaged Young Alumni Week, a three-day event sponsored by the Center for Civic Engagement, to speak about his career as a musician and a social activist. A press release explains that Butler's speech, set for November 2, will prove that entertainment and activism can work hand-in-hand.
"He's a really unique and interesting individual because he's taken a field like music that a lot of people don't necessarily associate with social activism," said Asha Toulmin of the Center for Civic Engagement. "He's a really good example of how you can incorporate that mentality into whatever you do."
Pointing to Arcade Fire's work raising funds to help rebuild Haiti, including a $1 million pledge to charity Kanpe, Toulmin feels that the popular indie rockers have set the example that you can combine your artistic drive, as well as your political consciousness, into your everyday life.
"It's just really about trying to help students see how they can tie in what they're doing now with creating something really valuable and meaningful later, after they graduate."
Organizers say it's "possible" that Butler might treat students to an impromptu performance, but as of yet nothing has been confirmed beyond his speech.