Changing the World: Student Speaker’s Challenge.
An idea conceived by several community members and a student in the early days of a crisp, clear and earthly fall. The United States was entering into a black hole of financial mismanagement, an environmental crisis in Alberta’s backyard was receiving international focus and Canada’s democratic process was being called into question. It seemed that the end was near. It still seems like the end is near but with witty political slogans and copycat poster makers, North Americans seem to have calmed down just a little. Which is it a bit of a concern, this right here is not the time to calm down, this is the time to pay close attention to what the future has in store. Changing the world, a difficult concept, how big does change need to be?
We have for so long been told that one person can make a difference, but is it possible for a single person to change the world. Of course not, one person acting solely cannot make a difference, one person cannot change the world, one person cannot reform Elections Canada or slow Tar Sand production but a community can. We have powerful politicians and policy makers in place at all levels to ensure that one person can actually affect very little change but when a group of a people rise up change can happen quickly. Even ‘ole steady Eddy, who believes that Albertans’ “whisper in his ear,” cannot single-handedly change Alberta’s political and economic agenda.
There is a reason why “Yes, We Can” was chosen and then spread faster than syphilis at the height of tourist season in Banff. It is all of us, and it can only be all of us that will change anything. The ULSU, SACPA and LPIRG have come together, a group that combines students, community members and an on-campus activist group to create something that might just get that message across.
Changing the World: Student Speakers Challenge was a series designed to allow students to stand up and say what they believe will change the world, what do they think is the greatest problem facing us today and what could be done to solve it. Out of all the applicants six students were chosen to speak on why they believe their idea is the right idea. Out of those six, 3 were chosen to compete and in the semi-finals and then one sole person will earn the distinction of having the idea that with change the world. Pretty sweet bragging rights. Besides the illin’ cash prize that is up for grabs there is also the added bonus of actually getting to say what you think, for once.
Students are hypothetically encouraged to speak their minds and propagate new ideas but often when the words are on the wire, the opinionated ones are often left on the line. This series was designed to allow students to chance of free thinking and free speech. The three preliminary rounds have already been held and the students competing in the semi-finals present drastically different ideas on what the world needs to do to chance. They come from different perspectives; different faculties and offer differing opinions. These ideas are all worth noting, and at the very least worth remembering as these are the changes we may need to see if our world is going to be all that’s it hyped up to be.
The semi-final competition will take place March 18, 4PM in Ballroom A of the Students’ Union Building and will feature Jeff Henry speaking on social and independent media, Trish Silk speaking on tolerance of differences and Joanna Waszkiewicz speaking on creating awareness of change. Please see their blog.