“How much is a word worth? Quite a lot if wielded properly,” President Charles A. Wight said to the auditorium in Elizabeth Hall as part of his opening remarks to the third annual Speech Showcase and Weber Speaks event.
Speech Showcase and Weber Speaks are both programs sponsored by Weber State’s Department of Communication that provide a venue to recognize the best student speakers from the Communication Department’s public speaking classes.
Speech Showcase in particular is the event in which these top speakers can present their speeches to WSU students, faculty and staff.
Master of Ceremonies, Professor Alexander Lancaster, director of WSU’s public speaking courses, emphasized how fierce the competition was, but the six finalists were selected because of their persuasive speeches’ relevance to timely and local issues.
One by one, each of the finalists were invited to share their short speeches to the audience.
Dance major Kierstin Pitcher spoke about the failure of family courts to protect children from abusive relatives and urged listeners to contact their representatives to make changes to the system to protect children from potentially abusive relatives.
Michelle Miles, a mathematics education major, shared her passion about helping victims of sexual assault. She shared first-hand experience from her family about the difficulties of escaping the darkness of sexual assault.
Colt Florence, a professional sales major, blasted social media and explained why we should delete our accounts. He explained that, on average, every American spends roughly two hours a day on social media and how that’s affecting our self esteem and social skills. He closed by urging everyone to spend that two hours on more fulfilling activities.
Communication major, Marin Tarbox, tackled the highly controversial subject of the LDS church’s barring of children of LGBTQ parents from getting baptized. She shared experiences close to her of children who, while previously able to be baptized, are no longer able to, simply because of the lifestyles of their parents. She discussed that the church’s discrimination was wrong and implored it to modernize its values.
Mike Fifer, a digital media major, discusses how we can “save the world” by simply recycling. He showed the many ways that recycling can help the environment and presented to the audience what can and cannot be recycled. He challenged everyone to follow suit and to begin to take recycling seriously.
The last speaker, business marketing major Tony Villalba, tackled the paradox of why Utah is one of the states that leads the country in suicide and antidepressant consumption as well as reported happiness. He explained that current evidence shows that it is the altitude that affects the serotonin and dopamine levels of Utah residents that can lead to depression as well as happiness.
At the end of the speeches, each finalist received their awards to roaring applause.
“Let your voice carry, and let it carry others,” Wight said.