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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Conference organizer inspires dreams

NW instructor Carol Hunsberger is the leader and founder of the Love Conference. She also speaks at the conference every year.
Justin Gladney/The Collegian
NW instructor Carol Hunsberger is the leader and founder of the Love Conference. She also speaks at the conference every year. Justin Gladney/The Collegian

By Shirlett Warren/nw news editor

A NW instructor walked to her car after work and saw a young couple a few feet ahead of her engaged in what seemed to be a playful back-and-forth pushing game. All of a sudden, the young man spit on his girlfriend.

What happened next was even more shocking to NW speech instructor Carol Hunsberger.

“The girl started laughing,” she said.

NW instructor Carol Hunsberger is the leader and founder of the Love Conference. She also speaks at the conference every year.
Justin Gladney/The Collegian

She laughed as if being spat on was perfectly OK, Hunsberger said.

“In that moment, I realized we’re becoming a society that didn’t know how to treat each other with respect,” she said.

It was also in that moment the Love Conference was born.

Hunsberger made it her mission to figure out a way to teach people how to respect and love one another. Later that week, she providentially saw a news story on ESPN about Jeff Reinbold, a college football coach who reached out to a young man with special needs by letting him participate in team practices as an assistant.

“Here he was, a man with a demanding career and his own family of five who still found time to love a person he’d never met,” she said.

Reinbold’s actions served as a catalyst for Hunsberger, and she was determined to build the Love Conference around him as the keynote speaker. The theme of the conference that year was Love Starts Here, and the turnout inspired Hunsberger to make the Love Conference an annual event.

Hunsberger approached other faculty members and community representatives to give workshops on topics of love like The Five Love Languages, Toxic Relationships, Love vs. Lust, Love and Loss and Pursuing Your Passions. She also recruited students from her business and interpersonal communications classes to organize the conference.

“You have to have teamwork for the dream to work,” she said.

The following year, hundreds of students had a choice of 18 workshops to attend and were exposed to a true testimony of unconditional love given by a community-service leader who spoke on overcoming homelessness and drug addiction.

Hunsberger’s dream of sharing a message of love and respect to the masses became a reality. Yet, there was a time in her life when she forgot how to dream, she said.

“Two years ago, after watching an episode of international House Hunters, my husband and I discussed a potential dream of moving to a tropical island,” she said. “The search for this island oasis was the catalyst for me to recognize my dreams had faded.”

Hunsberger said she seemed to not be living life, but merely enduring it. She lost several family members in a six-year period. In 2004, her brother Sean died at the age of 42. In January 2010, her father died. Ten months later, her 46-year-old brother Patrick died suddenly.

“I grew up in a family of inconsistencies,” she said. “Sean and my dad were the dreamers but died penniless in their pursuit. My mom and Patrick were financially secure but never pursued their dreams.”

She said she was convinced if her family had known someone who could motivate them to dream and develop a plan, their life missions could have been realized. She referred to a token called “a round tuit,” which she substitutes for the phrase “around to it.”

“We tell ourselves that someday when we get ‘a round tuit,’ we will pick up those dreaming pieces and discover our true purpose,” she said.

She redeemed her “round tuit” two summers ago when she went to the Caribbean island of St. Croix with her husband to explore their dream of living on a tropical island. Two weeks after her return, her brother Patrick died alone in a hospital.

“His death reconfirmed God’s purpose for my life and the importance of getting ‘a round tuit,’” she said. “Excitement and yearning to do God’s will helped me to endure one of the greatest tragedies of my life.”

She said her purpose is to motivate others to discover their dreams.

This year, in addition to the Love Conference, Hunsberger has added a Dream Conference for TCC professional staff, faculty and administrators. NW division dean Christine Hubbard said both conferences will join for lunch and a “dream-webbing” experience where they will share their dreams with others at their tables.

“[This] has been a true labor of love for Carol Hunsberger,” Hubbard said. “This campuswide event engages students in service learning and builds real-life experience.”

Lenga Pham, one of Hunsberger’s students working on this year’s Love Conference, said she was never one to take on leadership roles in projects.

“This is my first time experiencing leadership, and I was nervous,” Pham said. “But the more I stepped out, I discovered I have a passion for what I’m doing and I love it.”

Hunsberger said many people never let others know about their dreams because they’re afraid of being ridiculed. She wants to reawaken the passion to do something different.

“All humans are born with gifts,” Hunsberger said. “It is our responsibility to recognize and cultivate those talents to achieve our ultimate purpose, which is to love God, ourselves and serve others using the gifts we were blessed with.”

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