WSC hosts seventh annual World Speech Day


Aubreanna Miller

Students sat in the Kanter Student Center Atrium to watch their peers give speeches during World Speech Day on March 14.

Lesly Luna-Duran, Staff Writer

World Speech Day is celebrated internationally around the globe to promote free speech. In countries that have fought very hard for that privilege, this is something that is celebrated with great pride, Teresa Morales an associate professor of communication said.

The idea for WSD was first started in 2015 and the first one held was in 2016. Morales saw a call for the idea back in 2015 when she was still in Oklahoma, and she thought “that is a good idea,” so she had her leadership class sponsor the first WSD.

When WSD was just starting, she had to register online saying they would be participating at this time and place, she said. They used the people who did participate the first year as encouragement to get it up and going. Morales said now so many places are celebrating WSD that they have taken that function out.

Morales has her leadership and argumentation classes as well as CLAWS (Civic Leadership at Wayne State), an organization on campus, sponsor WSD every year. Collin Hain, a junior at WSC, was part of the leadership class and a member of CLAWS that helped sponsor WSD this year.

Hain said the activities are primarily where anyone can speak about any topic, usually between two to five minutes. They also provided a wheel of ideas which could be spun to give someone an idea to speak about if they so wished he said.

In previous years, WSC added an element to that process, allowing students to write their ideas out on sticky notes if they did not want to speak. These, they put on the wall behind the podium, Morales said. This year, they did not have a single person do that. They had a constant string of people wanting to speak, she added.

“They would just walk through, see the open mic, walk up and speak,” Morales said.

Hain said he would be hard pressed to narrow down one or two speeches that inspired him most, because so many did.

“It was fascinating and inspiring to see so many people speaking about a subject that they were passionate about and wanted to share their passion with someone else,” Hain said.

“Oh, they always inspire me,” Morales said about the speeches. “As the years have gone by, I have just been really impressed because Nebraska citizens and students are not fond of speaking or speaking out. They are very quiet and very reserved, so this has taken some work over the years.”

Hain recommends everyone that can attend to attend the event next year. Morales said students need to attend.

“We do not want to hurt people’s feelings or offend people- which is good to know that we do not want to offend people or hurt people’s feelings- but that does not mean we should censor ideas,” Morales said.

A week ago, at the University of Stanford in California, a judge was invited to speak at the campus of the law school. One of the law professors encouraged students to show up and protest the judge because the judge was a Trump appointee. They did not allow the judge to speak even though he was invited to speak, Morales said.

“This is something we really need to pay attention so it does not happen ever in Nebraska or especially at Wayne State College. We really do want to be honest when we say we promote WSD and the idea of free speech,” Morales said.

Hain did take the opportunity to speak at WSD and even had a debate.

“This was a lot of fun,” Hain said. “It was an adrenaline rush and so exciting in that nothing was prepared beforehand.” Hain, who will graduate soon, said he wished he would have been able to participate in another one.

“If there’s a topic that you love or want to share, then telling people about that topic is not a scary, arduous task, but rather a privilege,” Hain said.

The next WSD will be held March 15, 2024, and Morales said she looks forward to seeing everyone come up and put down their name on the list to speak.