April 14, 2008

Annual Student Speakers Forum set for Tuesday

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The atmosphere might be intense in the Lesar Law Building Auditorium at Southern Illinois University Carbondale around 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15.

The annual Student Speakers Forum tackles the issue of alcohol consumption among college students and its effect on student life. The forum opens with a panel of six students presenting prepared speeches. The moderator then opens the floor to impromptu speakers who wish to share their own comments.

The first Student Speakers Forum convened in spring 2002 under the coordinated effort of Jonathan Gray, associate professor, and Nathan Stucky, associate professor and chair of the Department of Speech Communication, and Barbara J. Schwartz, a Makanda resident who helped fund the forum. The first several forums followed a debate format, with students participating in an exit poll showing which side of the debate they favored. The first topic was whether there should be a guided prayer at SIUC commencement activities. The exit poll showed a divided audience

Since then, the forum has tackled such topics as how Title IX – the first comprehensive federal law prohibiting discrimination based on gender – applies to collegiate athletic opportunities, the rights of students who identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bi- or transsexual, and questions regarding the war in Iraq.

Punch and cookies will be served in the lobby after the event. Students are welcome to stay and continue their discussion informally.

The student speakers for the opening of the forum are:

Stefan Bernal, Peru, Ill., Sasahy Blackburn, Oceanside, Calif., Tamara Kang, Carbondale, Kelsey Lesniak, West Chicago, Gavin Sanders, Dolton, and Sarah Zywiec, Normal.

Student speakers auditioned for the opportunity to open the forum. They presented speeches individually to a panel of five judges from the Speakers Forum Committee. Judges based their selections on content and delivery.