Eight students gathered in anticipation to pitch their speech ideas to three judges in the hopes of qualifying for the final round of Montclair State University’s annual speech competition. The qualifying rounds for the Dannis B. Eaton Speech Competition took place on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
Dr. Marylou Naumoff, the coordinator for the speech competition and one of the judges, explained what they are looking in a speech.
“We are looking for content to see if there is promise,” Naumoff said. “We feel that there is enough there that can actually be developed into a six-to-eight minute speech. We are also looking at the delivery [of the speech].”
The topic for this year’s competition is “My Earth,” to spark the discussion of climate change. Students were able to discuss a broad amount of topics. The topics ranged from how to help stop pollution on the home front, why we need to vote, why the earth isn’t technically ours and why we should be more aware as consumers.
Kenny Slaman, a sophomore humanities major with a film minor, explained how he prepped for his speech.
“I wrote down some notes, some bullet points [and] some stuff in my phone. [I] compiled some specific things I wanted to hit,” Slaman said. “When I had some free time I just went over it in my head and rehearsed the intro, especially because you have to start off knowing what you are going to say and you can kind of work it from there.”
Each student had the choice to either speak behind the podium or in front of the table to present to the three judges: Dr. Naumoff, Professor Gai Grannon and Professor Timothy Giordano.
“I was more nervous coming because I expected something more like one-on-one [or] one-on-two. I wasn’t thinking reporters, conference tables and people,” Slaman said.
The contestants were given two minutes each to pitch their topic to the judges.
“You can really tell within the first 60 to 90 seconds if someone is a strong public speaker,” Naumoff said.
Ritvi Shaah, a sophomore fashion major and an international student from India, explained why she wanted to speak out about climate change.
“I think climate change is one of the topics that people are still in denial about and that bothers me,” Shaah said. “If we are the ones who aren’t going to do anything about it, no one is going to and it’s going to be too late.”
Sam Carliner, a senior journalism major, explained his topic on why we shouldn’t put a possessive adjective like “my” on the Earth.
“If I can get personal, my mom and I rent,” Carliner said. “It really changes how you view yourself in the world, to be at the whim of someone who owns the place you are living in.”
Carliner explained why he wanted to discuss climate change along with his personal anecdote.
“I think it’s just this thing that a lot of people don’t really question, this idea that land is treated as a product,” Carliner said. “When you really look at it, people need land to stay alive. They need to have a place to exist in if they want to stay alive. That’s a thing not a lot of people discuss, so I wanted to discuss it.”
The finalists include Francis Churchill, Giovanna da Silva Pagungue, Carley Campbell, Kenny Slaman and Sam Carliner. They will be competing on Nov. 18 with a long version of the qualifying speeches for the first place prize of $300.