For Terrell Manyak, professor of public administration at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, the call to travel and change the world one country at a time is impossible to ignore.
“I tell people that if you want to broaden your mind, go to Europe,” Manyak said. “If you want to change your mind, go to a place like Paraguay or Uganda, because you see the world with a whole new perspective.”
Manyak has been to about 80 countries and is always ready for another trip, some of which involve public service.
In 2008, he undertook a project in Uganda where water would be provided to an area near Lake Victoria. The project involved building latrines to keep the water supply clean, the construction of a cistern next to a school so that children could bring water home after school, and the establishment of a task force to keep the water supply clean. After all of this was, Manyak learned that the area was also suffering from deforestation. Makerere University provided a converter for human waste that turned it into methane gas, which could be used instead of wood as a source of energy.
“You start out with one little project that leads to another that leads to another, and then all this stuff is so systemically related that it’s really hard to get on top of. But if you don’t solve all of these problems, the good that you did destroys itself,” Manyak said. “When we finally finished this project, 300 local villagers came out to say thank you to us; that was very touching. They were sincere. We really did change their life.”
Manyak’s other trip to Paraguay as the adviser to NSU’s Rotoract Club, a community service organization, was an eye-opening experience for him as it showed him that there are also problems and challenges that countries outside of Africa must face.
“That trip was very interesting because I had never explored that part of the world before,” Manyak said. “The Paraguayans took me back into the rural country to really see what life was like and the challenges they face.”
He came to NSU after being chair of the business department at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho. The college’s mission was to provide distance education opportunities throughout the state, similar to NSU. This is what attracted Manyak to the university.
“The more I learned about NSU, the more I said God was guiding me in this because this university really fit my philosophy of education,” Manyak said.
Manyak started the Rotoract Club at NSU and enjoys working with the group. He encourages every student on campus to get involved with the community service-based organization, as the members do so many things to support the community in and around NSU.
“They really live my idea of the motto ‘Service above self.’ These kids are bright, smart and energetic; I envy them. If we could do one hour a week, it would be amazing what we could do as a people,” he said.
Manyak is also adept with home repair, including tiling, plumbing and electrical.
“One problem with teaching is that it never ends. And every now and then, you need to tear down something in your house and rebuild it so you can see a finished product,” he said.
Locally, Manyak promotes literacy with a program called Black Stallion, which has made breakthroughs with children who are too afraid to read aloud in class. Children are given books that they are expected to learn to read, and after a month, they read their books to a black stallion. Reading to the stallion removes this barrier, and after that, they can begin to learn, he said.
Manyak believes that everyone should strive to learn more about the world.
“I was just born with a genetic defect that says you have to keep moving; you have to keep seeing these places,” he said. “One thing I learned when I was very young: when a window of opportunity comes, take it. That window will close, and you may not get that opportunity again.”