The Brain Center Hosts Soapbox Speeches for Ovation

Brain Center student fellows are not presenting during this year’s Ovation Day of Excellence. Instead, some members of the Brain Center are doing Soapbox Speeches.  

Students have a ten-minute time slot to present prepared material about an issue they’re passionate about. There is a wooden box that students stand on to present hence the name Soapbox.  

Sarah Billman, Student Director of Weekly Programs at The Brain Center, plans on giving a Soapbox Speech. Her topic is student burnout and mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

 “[Burnout] affects everyone, even faculty.” Billaman said. “Even if students say I’m not burned out, they may be in a group project where another student is and can’t contribute as much.”  

There are a variety of other topics being covered as well including a speech titled “The Dangers of Don’t Say Gay,” delivered by Allies president Emily Hathcock, and “Kool Kids Vote” by Jackets Engaged member Mike Ackerman.  

The Brain Center fellows focused on mental health concerns on campus as a part of their program but are not formally presenting at Ovation. Christy Walkuski, director of the David & Frances Brain Center for Community Engagement, said the pandemic affected the fellows’ projects.  

“We had such an unusual year with COVID,” Walkuski said, “so they didn’t feel their projects were as developed as some of the previous ones were.”  

Billman encouraged students to go to the Soapbox Speeches to educate themselves and support their fellow students. The Soapbox Speeches will take place from 12 -3 pm in the Knowlton Center Lobby during Ovation day.