In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech social scientist Mario Falk reflected on what he called a “teachable moment” that impacted his life years earlier and thanked a college conduct officer for changing his world view.
“I was caught drinking beer in my dorm when I was a freshman in college, and rather than punishing me, the residence hall director gave me what he called ‘an educational sanction,’” explained Falk. “I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn’t had that education.”
Falk, the founder of International Hunger and AIDS Elimination, explained that his hall director required him to decorate a dorm bulletin board to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol.
“Stapling AA brochures and self-help pamphlets to the corkboard really enlightened me about my responsibility to my community. Until then, I’d never really considered my role as a citizen. I decided at that moment I would never drink again and I’d spend the rest of my life helping millions of others. I haven’t had a single day go by when I don’t think about that wonderful bulletin board sanction.”