On Tuesday, May 23, Eric Embree, a communication professor, will deliver his devotional address which he will focus on students being aware of each other and what they can do to help those who are in need. 

He chose to speak specifically on this topic because of the students he has been able to work with during his time at BYU-Idaho. Embree has noticed that these students go through a lot of trials and trauma, but those around them tend to be unaware of those hardships. He wants students to know what to do and how to do it when they encounter individuals in need. 

“I just see over and over again these amazing stories of the difficulties that students have gone through,” Embree said. “It makes me very aware of the fact that the people around us are struggling and we’re often not aware. I use the metaphor of drowning because drowning doesn’t really look like drowning. People around them don’t even notice they’re drowning. I use that metaphor because we need to be less focused on our phones and more focused on the people around us.”

Apart from participating in the discussion board which asks students when they have recognized a struggle, Embree also recommends that students ponder on the things that cause them to feel stress and anxiety and to reflect on what they do in those situations. 

When they leave the BYU-Idaho Center on Tuesday, Embree hopes students will walk away with a more clear understanding on what they can do to help those who are struggling without anyone having to ask for it. He encourages students to be mindful and aware of one another. 

“As disciples of Christ, we’re called upon to rescue people who are going through difficult times and we can’t just wait until somebody asks for our help,” Embree said. “We need to be watching and be alert for signs that someone might be struggling.”

Embree was born in California and grew up in Rexburg where his father taught at BYU-I. He has taught various classes in the communication department in his 31 years with the school, his favorite being Interpersonal Theory and Practice. He is married with five children and four grandchildren, two of which live half a block away from him. He served a mission in Bahía Blanca, Argentina from 1984-1986.