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Silent Protestor seeks to Engage Students

On campus, we are used to seeing preachers yelling to students on the Quad, religious activists standing outside of Watterson with megaphones and being approached by different organizations asking us to sign petitions.

While it is easy to walk past those with forceful methods of propaganda, the silent protestors tend to hold more power.

One of the most recognizable protesters on the Quad, Gregg Brown, is always calm and content with his peaceful protest and picket signs suggesting to legalize marijuana. But who is this quiet man that has a lot to say?

Brown, an Illinois State University alumnus from the class of ’88, has been actively making silent statements on campuses around the area for over 15 years, hoping to help inspire and inform the current students that he sees on campus.

“If the world is going to change, it needs to come from the young people,” Brown said.

Brown believes that reaching out to a younger generation will be more beneficial than trying to change the minds of those he grew up with.

Brown uses a silent campaign to spread his message, and he feels it is more effective than trying to force people to listen. He generally has nothing but positive experiences from the students and faculty he has encountered. Rather than forcing those who see him to listen, he brings a more welcoming approach to informing students about his beliefs and only talks to those who approach him first to hear what he has to say.

“I rarely get any kind of opposition, mostly just wonderful conversations; just good, honest conversations. There are some wonderful human beings in your age group,” Brown said.

Brown, who is often seen around campus holding a sign about legalizing marijuana for cancer treatment, is interested and well informed in many other subjects. Politics, medical treatment, education and the media are just a few of the topics on his agenda.

“It’s a beautiful world, and I want it to go on. I’d love to see humanity wake up, but I would have loved to see it happen before Fukushima,” Brown said, referencing one of the many topics he is passionate about.

Brown is a firm believer in passing along the information he has collected over the years to students that he knows have the power to make a difference, which is why he is so adamant about what he does.

“What would I be without the books I’ve read, the music I’ve listened to, the teachers I’ve learned from?” Brown asked.

Don’t be afraid to stop and say hey to Gregg Brown next time you see him on campus. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up with a brand new perspective on the world around you.

Originally published on

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