Speak Up! Find your voice and make a difference on campus

Using your voice as a college student is important. Campuses in the 1960s and ’70s morphed from quiet institutions of study to battlefields for counterculture protests. Fast-forward 50 years: The art of protest has changed. Students have ditched megaphones for smart phones, using social media to spread messages. College students have long been at the forefront of speaking up and out about social issues, and finding your voice on campus can seem challenging in a sea of students. However, multiple outlets exist for ensuring your voice is heard, IRL.

Speech and debate teams are organizations dedicated to helping young people hone public speaking abilities while simultaneously exposing social injustices, shedding light on influential changes in society and lending a voice to the silenced.

Speech is broken into three categories: public address speeches, where students recite persuasive or informative speeches about current topics; interpretation events, where students choose literature, drama or film to act out, like mini one- or two-person plays; and limited preparation events, where students analyze news, politics and quotations with off-the-cuff speeches.

As for debate, typically one encompassing topic per school year is delegated (e.g. the cost of higher education) and students build cases to debate other teams. Schools across Texas (and the entire nation) have teams. If your college doesn’t have a team, there are many student-led programs as well.

Student government is another way to make your voice heard. Senators representing different majors propose and vote on bills to improve the quality of campus life. Student governments are responsible for maintaining constitutions and codes of conduct. This is a way to be a leader on campus and make changes that affect the entire school.

Finally, most colleges have student political groups for all parties imaginable. Students with similar beliefs gather to discuss the political landscape and host events to spread their ideas.

There are many outlets to let your voice be heard. Speak up!

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