By: KAYLA SMITH
The votes are in. Preliminary rounds are past. It’s time for the annual Speech Night event.
As the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts at IU South Bend is busy preparing for the upcoming Speech Night finals, so too are student competitors and speech faculty.
Senior Lecturer in Communication Arts, Kevin Gillen, discussed the event and its long-standing tradition that began in 1982. Gillen has been a professor at IUSB teaching public speaking since 2003. He said the event has changed by way of technology, but the formatting is still the same.
Students who are currently enrolled in S121 are given an assignment to give a persuasive speech about a current social issue or policy. The class then votes for the students they feel accomplished the goals of the speech.
“It’s really student-driven,” said Gillen.
Students must meet all requirements of an outlined rubric to be voted winners, sending them to Speech Night.
As students are chosen, it is common to be a little nervous.
“It’s a real honor, but no is required to participate,” said Gillen.
It is an accomplishment that students can add to their resumes and look back on. It also serves as a way for students to network, as every year there are a panel of guest judges that range from professors from other universities to people who are currently working within the communication field.
Along with serving as coaches for the presenters, faculty come together and provide a bit of laughter for the audience as well with a special, silly slideshow that features their S121 class pictures of students posing with funny faces, and showing the light feeling that the classes have.
The topics of the persuasive speeches have changed over time. Gillen recalled a speech that stuck out to him. The speech started out comically, but the student was able to shape it into the informal speech that it was.
“They had the idea to change the Easter mascot from a bunny to a pterodactyl,” said Gillen. The reason being for animal welfare. “It was very cleverly addressed.”
Speech Night Finals is not just a night of speeches, but about finding new talents. As judges are deciding on their final winner, there is time that students with musical talents or those who wish to read their poetry are able to come on stage and make themselves known. However, it is not just about the serious events, but some comedy as well.
The event will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, April 20 in the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall, located in Northside Hall. Admission to the event is free, however, tickets are required. For more information on how to receive a ticket, visit arts.iusb.edu or call the arts box office at 574-520-4203.