What We're About

Purpose of the Series

Speak Up, Speak Out is not a lecture series―it’s more like a town hall meeting called to discuss important events and topics in the news. Each forum is an opportunity for all participants to collaborate in thinking through the issues, identify problems, and consider solutions.

Format of the Forums

In order to create a common ground for discussion, each forum typically begins with a video to provide relevant and useful information about the selected topic for the audience to analyze.

After the video, a panel of faculty, staff and students initiates discussion by providing additional information and insights, and soliciting responses from the audience. As facilitators, panelists model strong critical thinking skills, effective questioning, and civility in disagreement in order to engage the audience in open discussion and inclusive dialogue.

That doesn’t mean that panelists remain neutral on the topic under discussion, or that they agree with one another. Explaining how they arrived at their positions or why those positions are justifiable helps others see how to put together a reasonable and defensible position of their own. It is through learning skills such as these that each of us becomes a more engaged and effective citizen, capable of developing thoughtful positions on the issues, willing to listen to reasonable alternatives posed by others, and open to the life-long learning that enriches our own lives and the democratic society for which we are responsible.

SUSO Promotes...

Organizing Committee

Speak Up, Speak Out forums are planned through the collaboration of faculty, students and staff on our Organizing Committee.


At every forum, we ask participants to complete a questionnaire about their experiences at the forum and with suggestions for future forum topics. Our current questionnaire is available.

Previous Forums

In our 15 years of providing forums on campus, we have covered a wide range of topics. Here you can find a selection of some of our past forum topics.

Speak Up, Speak Out forums — a space for students to have conversations about issues that matter.

a SUSO panel

Our forums are organized by faculty and students working together.