On Thursday, October 24, three talented finalists battled for the honor of being named the Fall 2013 Speak-Off Champion. Their weapons of choice were words, and they used them to express ideas designed to challenge people’s thinking and inspire change. The theme of the event was “The Butterfly Effect,” as it relates to communication. Adapted from chaos theory and the premise that a butterfly flapping its wings in one part of the world can create a tsunami weeks later in another part of the world, students were asked to craft speeches around the idea that small communication events can have large-scale effects. They were urged to consider how a small communication such as a simple email, tweet or post can reverberate, creating a ripple effect that can affect tens of thousands of people in an instant. Today’s communicators have the power to reach people in numbers unheard of 100 years ago, and they can do it in the time it takes to push a button. This year’s three finalists took that idea and ran with it, bringing the audience talks on the “N word,” the Koney 2012 video, and the numbing effect of social media.
The three finalists were selected by the Communication Arts Studio’s communication coordinators from an array of talented speakers. Once selected, the finalists had one week to polish their prose, perfect their performances and prepare to take the stage.
Senior Communication Arts Major Aaron Fingal delighted the crowd as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. After three outstanding speeches, the judges – Communication Arts faculty member Nick Temple and Communication Arts Studio Assistant Director Charlene Eberly – left the room to deliberate in what they reported was a difficult decision. Citing his confident delivery and thought-provoking commentary on the “N word,” the judges declared Marketing major David Bell the first place winner. Leah Diffenthaller received the honor of second place and Raquel Aymerich took third place.