Celebrating World Speech Day at WSC


Elias Reiter gives tips on how to use Shakespearean imagery to pick up girls PHOTO BY AUBREANNA MILLER

Aubreanna Miller, Staff Writer

World Speech Day was founded in 2015 by Simon Gibson at the Athens Democracy Forum to give a platform for everyday voices to be heard.
Every year since then, on March 14 and 15, people from over 100 nations across the globe participate by giving speeches that are at least two-minutes and about whatever topic their heart desires.
Dr. Teresa Morales, an associate professor of communication at Wayne State, brought the idea of hosting a World Speech Day event on campus during her first year of teaching.
A leadership class always hosts the event on campus, this year being Morales’ Leadership Theory class. “We had to brainstorm, market, ask for donations and come up with ideas like the wheel and having candy,” Clare Hornung, a student in the leadership class, said.
The event took place in the Kanter Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Students in Morales’ classes were required to give 2- to 5-minute speeches about any topic they wanted as long as they kept it clean.
Some students had to give more than one speech, depending on how many of Morales’ classes they took this semester. Speech topics were all over the map, ranging from “How to Find Happiness in College” to “Why Poodles are the Best Dog Breed.”
One student, Giovany Ramirez, gave two speeches: one about his trip to Ireland and the other about an actual race card that he carries in his wallet.
“People get offended by the term, but I made it as a way to battle differences instead of just dancing around the subject,” Ramirez said. “It is a comical but easy way to start conversations about my race with other people. Sometimes people will ask me, ‘hey Gio, do you find this offensive?’ and I will throw down my race card and explain to them my interpretation.”
However, not all speeches were given by students in the classes. Many students voluntarily gave speeches even though it wasn’t required of them.
Hoping this would happen, the students of the leadership class set up a wheel of ideas so students could have a subject given to them if they weren’t sure what to talk about.
A few of these topics included favorite childhood memory, COVID-19, cancel culture, favorite superpower and much more.
Sean Kovar, a WSC student, stood nearby and watched a few speeches before deciding to give it a try himself. “I like to be creative, and it seemed like a fun time,” Kovar said.
A group of Kovar’s friends had gathered to watch his speech which gave him an extra boost of confidence. “It is most definitely easier to speak in front of your friends than strangers because they know your humor and you can feed off of them,” Kovar said. “It just flows more naturally and knowing that you have friends there to support you really helps.”
If students were not comfortable with giving speeches, but still wanted to get their voices heard, they could write something on a sticky note and stick it to the Wayne State College sign in the Student Center.
“Listen to the AG Knowledge podcasts on Thursdays at 6 p.m. on 91.9 The Cat” and “I would be the first to die in any world apocalypse” were a few of the many sticky notes written by students.
Last year, Morales and her students planned a huge World Speech Day event that included the Wayne High School students, a luncheon for the members of Leadership Wayne and a speech from President Rames.
But sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to these proceedings. “It took a lot of planning, so it would be great if we could do that again in the future,” Morales said.
The whole premise of World Speech Day is to use the power of speech to bring change and build world citizenship, according to the World Speech Day website.
Students attending the event at Wayne State talked about the importance of public speaking and all emphasized that in a world of online personalities, we still need to grow our face-to-face communication skills. “Whoever has the floor, has the power and whoever is silenced, is squashed,” Morales said. “Learning to speak in public to right the wrongs, to make demands, to ask for change, and to bring awareness to different understandings is important. The better one speaks; the more likely people will hear.”
People across the world livestreamed their speeches. To watch these, you can go to worldspeechday.com to hear voices and ideas from millions of everyday people.