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SCSU and Operation Change

Friday, June 20, 2014

Sponsor image for Starkey Foundation/OWN TV documentary series on the world's problems

Debuting 9 p.m. CDT June 23, "Operation Change" uses hour-long shows, filmed in ten locations around the world, to bring attention to the human effects of extreme poverty, famine, HIV/AIDs, war and natural disasters.

Sponsor image for Starkey Foundation/OWN TV documentary series on the world's problems Bill Austin (left) and former President George W. Bush fit a child with a free hearing aid President Earl H. Potter III fits a hearing aid duriong a visit to China 

St. Cloud State joins a former president, two British knights, a billionaire businessman and Starkey Hearing Foundation in supporting "Operation Change," a documentary television series about the world's most challenging problems.

The university's 30-second commercial runs during the 10-episode series, which airs this summer on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network.

Debuting 9 p.m. CDT June 23, "Operation Change" uses hour-long shows, filmed in ten locations around the world, to bring attention to the human effects of extreme poverty, famine, HIV/AIDs, war and natural disasters.

The series features Starkey Hearing Foundation founders Bill and Tani Austin and their son. Steven Sawalich. The foundation is the philanthropic arm of Starkey Hearing Technologies, an Eden Prairie hearing-aid manufacturer. For every product purchased, the company donates to the foundation. To date, more than 1.4 million people, in more than 100 nations, have been fitted with free hearing aids.

Among the many hearing-aid mission helpers are former President George W. Bush, baseball Hall of Fame inductee Paul Molitor, actress/singer Miley Cyrus, the Dalai Lama, and St. Cloud State President Earl H. Potter III.

St. Cloud State has alumni and former students working at Starkey Hearing Foundation and Starkey Hearing Technologies, which is based in Eden Prairie. Among them are two 1990 graduates: Kevin Quinlivan, a mission liaison for the foundation, and Steve Orvis, a market intelligence manager for the company.

Other St. Cloud State connections include:

  • Theta Mu Chapter of Delta Zeta stuffed bears for distribution to children fitted with hearing aids
  • Video producer Nicholas Wenck ’11 documented Starkey Foundation mission trips
  • Faculty emerita Mary Weise and her daughter are in a Starkey Hearing Technologies website video

The premiere episode focuses on aid workers assisting earthquake victims in Haiti. Joining the mission team are fashion designer Donna Karan and actress Maria Bello.

The June 30 episode takes place in Israel and Palestine. Musician/actor Harry Connick, Jr., and the mission team work with peace activists to cultivate understanding among people on both sides of the walls and checkpoints.

Former President Bill Clinton is in an episode based in Colombia. An episode that discusses social "untouchables" in Malaysia includes musician Elton John. Business magnate Richard Branson joins a mission team to aid rural health clinics in South Africa.

The series was created by Articulus Entertainment, Los Angeles. Executive producers are Sawalich, Natalee Watts and Teri Weinberg. Melinda Cea is co-executive producer.

For more information, visit these websites:

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