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College celebrates World Speech Day with 'casual' public forum

Barry McNamara
Rachel Masch '17 interviews Amadeo Arroyo '18 for World Speech Day.
World Speech Day has now been celebrated across the globe two times, and Monmouth College has participated both years.

To celebrate this year, students hosted a “casual” event Wednesday on campus. They invited campus community members to speak on topics of their choosing or to give public readings, which could include original poetry.

Among those accepting the invitation was Monmouth President Dr. Clarence R. Wyatt, who shared some famous lines from the speeches of Robert F. Kennedy. Faculty member Bob Holschuh Simmons went even farther back in time (431 B.C.), reading from Pericles’ funeral oration, which appeared in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War.

Other speakers included two award-winning members of the College’s forensics team – Cole Downey ’17 of Geneva, Ill., and Anthony Adams ’18 of Chicago.

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Lori Walters-Kramer, whose capstone communication class, “Freedom of Expression,” organized the five-hour event, said individuals “don’t have to be an orator on par with Martin Luther King” to have something important to say.

“World Speech Day is all about celebrating the power of our voice,” said Walters-Kramer. “I love the hashtag #unexpectedvoices that goes with this event. We hear a lot of the same voices in the public arena, but hopefully others will learn the value of sharing their perspectives. Lots of positives can happen when people share their experiences or articulate their thoughts.”

She said part of the idea behind the event was to encourage individuals “to take the risk to be vulnerable and share ideas with others. … We want this to be a liberating day.”

Rachel Masch ’17 of Laveen, Ariz., a student organizers of the event, also took her turn as a speaker, presenting some of her own poetry.

“This event is about voicing your voice,” she said. “It’s about understanding my voice matters. I do have a voice and my voice does make a difference.”

The communication students livestreamed the event.

“It gives the students an opportunity to utilize skills they’ve learned,” said Walters-Kramer. “It also introduces them to this worldwide event and helps them learn some new skills, too.”