The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Speaking Union: Learning to Lead

Colgate University’s Colgate Speaking Union (CSU) refers to a wide range of organizations centered on public speaking competitions and international opportunities, including Model UN, Model Arab League, Debate Society, Spanish Language Debate Society and Mock Trial. The CSU headquarters are located in Lathrop 002, and academic trophies decorate the home base. Program Coordinator for the Office of Student Involvement and CSU Brittany Miller provided a run-down on the speaking program.

“The Colgate Speaking Union affords its members many opportunities to apply their liberal arts education to their extracurricular speaking activities and interact with people around the world who share their regard for the power, utility and beauty of the spoken word,” Miller said.

From Debate Society to Mock Trial Team, CSU hosts a variety of student-run organizations. Each group has an executive board and organization members. Miller recommended that interested students sign up at the Student Organization Involvement Fair and stressed that anyone is welcome to join.

“The experience a member has also ranges,” Miller said. “Some members have been competing since high school, and some members are just beginning their journey.”

Senior Ellie Markwick signed up for Colgate’s Model UN with no prior experience; now, she is president of the club. 

“My high school did not have Model UN, so this was the first time I had the opportunity to join a club like this,” Markwick said. 

First-year Kiera Tran recently joined CSU and expressed that she already feels at home.

“The Speaking Union is immensely important, as it provides a communicative and welcoming environment for students to learn about global issues and leadership,” Tran said.

The various organizations within CSU meet one to two times a week and attend events outside of Colgate throughout the year. Some groups even attend conferences in France, Spain, Taiwan, Boston, Washington, D.C., and more. 

“Since I began advising, the Speaking Union groups have traveled all over, domestically and internationally, to compete at some of the most impressive tournaments,” Miller said.

Last year, Markwick took the Colgate Model UN delegation to WorldMUN in Paris, France.  

“It was such an amazing opportunity to explore the city while meeting other delegations from all over the world,” Markwick said. “We also got to go to a diplomatic gala in the Louvre, which was super cool.” 

Aside from welcoming all students and giving them the opportunity to compete abroad, CSU also creates a safe space to explore interesting topics and meet new friends.

Miller emphasized her three favorite aspects of CSU.

“The first is the amazing students I get to interact with during their time here at Colgate,” Miller said. “They are all so impressive, and it’s amazing to see each of them carrying out their passions. The second would be the amazing connections that members of each organization form. It truly embraces the sense of the Colgate community. Lastly [is] the amazing [opportunity] to be exposed to the world around us.”

Tran shared a similar sentiment when reflecting on what she has gained from Model UN.

“I value the connections I’ve made with other students in Model UN. We’re all learning how to improve our global leadership skills, and it’s so important and reassuring to have such a supportive group of students alongside me,” Tran said.

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