Film star Sean Astin headlines WAMFest 2017 at Fairleigh Dickinson University

Above: Actor and activist Sean Astin answers trivia questions about The Goonies for a special episode of “Tori on The Street.” (Video by Brant Sennett and Victoria Sheffer)

By Sarah Cole

Actor and activist Sean Astin visited Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Florham Campus on Friday, Oct. 6 for a conversation with Anthony Tasso, associate professor of psychology, before an audience of several hundred people in the Italian Gardens. Known for his roles as Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings, Mikey Walsh in The Goonies and the title character in Rudy, Astin discussed his acting career and his advocacy for mental health research and awareness.

Sean Astin in interview
Above: Sean Astin advises students to cultivate mentors and work hard, saying, “The people I meet in every setting who do well are the ones who work hard.” (Photo by Dan Landau)

“People will root for you if you show your heart,” said Astin, explaining the appeal and success behind Rudy, the story of an academically- and athletically-challenged student who defied the odds to get into his dream college and make the football team.

Astin’s talk headlined this year’s WAMFest, an annual series of readings, interviews, talks, and performances hosted by Fairleigh Dickinson University. WAMfest brings successful artists of various genres to the campus to inspire and inform students and the community.

Other events at WAMFest 2017 included “Words and Music: The Literary Rhythms of the Mind,” a conversation between poet Michael Robbins, members of house music band the Disco Fries, moderated by former Def Jam Records CRO Bill Stephney. Additionally, there was student arts showcase, featuring visual artwork and musical performances.