Amy Roloff emphasizes self-sufficiency during Program Board speech


Amy Roloff speaks Sept. 27 at Plachta Auditorium. 

Star of TLC's "Little People, Big World" Amy Roloff has advice for students who feel out of place: take control of your situation.

"When you rely on other people and other things to make your life, then who has the empowerment? Not you," she said. "You have no control over it because you’re just waiting."

Roloff came to campus as a part of Program Board's Speaker Series to speak Sept. 27 in Plachta Auditorium. The 1985 alumna has returned to Central Michigan University multiple times, speaking to a packed Plachta Auditorium in 2007 and serving as Homecoming Grand Marshal in 2008. 

Program Board Lecture Director Harrison Watts said the organization decided to invite the alumna to speak as a part of upcoming homecoming events. In doing so, Watts said, Program Board accidentally created a theme.

“This year, we unintentionally went with a theme of ‘Michigan Folks,’ so a lot of our acts we’re bringing this year are native to Michigan, which is kind of cool," he said. 

Although Roloff now lives in Oregon with her family, she said her education at CMU gave her a solid foundation she can always come back to.

 “You have a variety of (opportunities) and no matter where you are, you can always apply that education to something,” she said.

Roloff said she originally intended to graduate as an accounting major, but quickly became underwhelmed by the pressure involved with bookkeeping. She changed her major to human resources and hospitality. Though she said her qualitative schooling was important, the personal growth she was able to experience was the most influential. 

"College is a lot more than just going to the classes, studying, going to the library. That’s maybe a third of it." she said. "That’s a big third. You know, you’re spending a lot of time, a lot of money to get an education. But if that’s all you get out of a university, while you’re attending CMU, I think you’re missing a huge wealth of everything else."

Kellogg community college senior Paige Strang drove an hour and a half to join her friend, CMU senior Allie Davis, at Roloff's speech. Strang said she's been watching "Little People, Big World" since she was six.

Davis said Strang cheered near the end of Roloff's speech.

 “It was the last thing (Roloff) said: ‘I have a loud voice. What I say is meaningful.’ That was really empowering," Davis said.