Students Partake in SLF Speaking Competition

Katherine Byrns

Last Thursday, April 16, in the Ho Lecture Room, several students competed for over $5,000 in cash prizes in the Colgate Student Lecture Forum Speaking Competition. The underclassmen were to present five to seven minute speeches on the topic, “What is a problem we could fix?” The upperclassmen prepared speeches that answered the question, “If you could redo your time at Colgate, what would you do differently, and why?”

“This group is on campus in order to try to bridge the gap between the academic and the social,” first-year Joshua Smeltzer of the Student Lecture Forum (SLF) said. “It provides opportunities to carry over the classroom experience after 4 p.m. when classes end.”

Aside from these competitions, the SLF hosts weekly discussions on Thursday at 4 p.m. at the O’Connor Campus Center (Coop). Students discuss a wide variety of topics, particularly involving political issues and current events. Recently, students have discussed the issue of capitalism in the face of the economic crisis.

The final discussion of the semester is expected to be especially interesting. Students will discuss the topic “Do You Porn? The American Sexual Appetite.” During the discussion, students will debate the recent cultural phenomenon involving video websites where the public can post videos, similar to YouTube, but instead with pornography. Participants expect to put an academic spin on this subject and discuss the symbolic implications that these websites have for Americans.

SLF is also responsible for publishing the Colgate Academic Review. This publication consists of papers that students have written for classes and submitted to the Review. Thirteen students are chosen for each issue. Next semester, there will be a new competitive element of the Colgate Academic Review involving cash prizes. If a paper makes it into the review, there will be an additional competition in which the thirteen winners present their papers and discuss why they wrote them. The top three winners will win cash prizes.

Two upperclassmen and two underclassmen will be chosen as winners from last week’s Speaking Competition. Next week, there will be a soiree at the Merrill House in honor of the winners of last week’s competition, as well as for those published in the Colgate Academic Review.

The Student Lecture Forum is open to anyone on campus, regardless of prior public speaking experience. There will be another culminating competition next year, and weekly discussions will continue to be held as well.