One Republic Performs for “truth”

Story posted October 7, 2013 in CommRadio by Sofia Westin

truthLIVE Hits Up Penn State with Games, Facts and OneRepublic

When attending the free OneRepublic concert on Thursday, it was not just to hear lead singer Ryan Tedder say, “Penn State is like no other.” It was also to help spread the truth.

The concert was part of truth’s annual college campaign, the largest national smoking prevention initiative. The campaign started in 2000 by Legacy, a national public health organization based in Washington D.C.

This year was truth’s second year at Penn State. Once again, they brought their bright orange “truth truck,” parked in front of the Bryce Jordan Center for all to see.

Penn State is one stop on truth’s annual college tour called truthLive. The tour travels to only five colleges in the Pennsylvania commonwealth. It is part of a larger campaign, which has traveled to 60 cities and 30 states this summer and fall.

What is the truth?

truth’s main goal is to inform adolescents about the schemes of tobacco companies, such as how they manipulate the public and target their advertisements through profiling. According to tobacco companies, profiling can determine which groups of people are more inclined to pick up cigarettes.

Onsite were several truth marketers, who travel around the country to help spread the word. Russel Sliwinsky, who has worked for truth for three years now, said the marketers make sure to not preach to adolescents. “All we do is put facts out, and let people make their own decisions. We don’t tell people what to do, [because] that is a very negative way to approach it,” Sliwinsky said.

In order to help further spread the mission of truth, marketers gave out T-shirts, bags and sun glasses, inscribed with messages conveying an “ugly truth” about smoking. Britney Chappell, a marketer from Georgia, said the picture on her t-shirt was a brain connected to dynamite. The brain was painted a sickly green. “Every cigarette that a man smokes takes 11 minutes off his life,” Chappell noted. “So every pack of cigarettes shortens a man’s life by 3.5 hours. So that is supposed to ‘blow your mind’.”

One of strongest campaigns truth has is a poll to determine which is the “ugliest” truth. On their website, they have several hundred horrifying, and ugly facts, which participants can vote on to decide which is ugliest. These facts come from research and records from tobacco companies themselves. These records contain recorded conversations, profiling strategies, and campaign practices; one campaign found was called S.C.U.M, which targeted homosexuals and the homeless.

These documents were made public under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in 1999. They have been very valuable in truth’s campaign. Assistant Director of Marketing Mary Dominguez said, “truth lets the facts speak for themselves. We can show an actual industry document. We’re not trying to sway anything; we’re not making anything up. It’s there, it’s the truth. We want people to know it.”

One Republic stands up for truth

After four hours outside the BJC, it was time for the OneRepublic concert. Mary Dominguez said that the truth tour was beyond excited to have the band join them.

After Team Mate opened for them, the band appeared behind a white screen. The screen highlighted the shadows of all five members. Before the end of the first song, the curtain was gone and the crowd erupted in unison.

Lead singer Ryan Tedder was very social during the concert, sharing some advice and personal stories. Before one song he joked with students to “Live it up…but don’t get alcohol poisoning.” He also sang, “Driving down to Penn State,” and, “Penn State is like no other,” respectively.

Guitarists Ryan and Zach Zilkins both had solos during the show. Zach did a guitar solo that lasted longer than two minutes, while Ryan amazed the crowd with his ranging vocals. They even performed their own rendition of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” much to the audience’s pleasure.

The audience was energetic and excited throughout the night. They sang along, clapped their hands, and jumped around in full party mode. At the end of the show, OneRepublic went off the stage for a brief second and came back on with Penn State jerseys. Each jersey was fashioned with their names and the number thirteen on their backs. They played an encore to “If I Lose Myself”, while white confetti fell to the ground.

When the concert was done, the BJC lit up University Park with truth’s official color: orange.

Check out more about truth on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter.

Sofia Westin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email