Gungahlin Students Using Their Voice Boxes

05 Mar, 2014

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Students at Gungahlin College have been debating, advocating and speaking their minds for the past five weeks by participating in the Soapbox.

This unique gathering is created and run by Student Welfare Officer, Mike Duval, each Monday and Tuesday during second break. What can usually be expected is a small crowd coming together at the main grass area near the Gym, made up of both teachers and students each taking turns of standing on the box and expressing their opinions.

Mike describes it as a place for “voices to be heard.” He welcomes all students to share their opinions, within reason and context, and to speak for up to five minutes. It is then heard and received by a supportive and engaged audience. 

A student who has stood up on the ‘Soapbox’, Connor Carmichael, feels that: “(Mike Duval) has set it up very well and has created a laid back environment” where students can “let off steam or simply spread the word.” This phenomenon not only interests students in social and political issues, both personal and global, which can be seen by the wide variety of topics discussed, but also as Mike suggests, gives young people the opportunity to speak out when otherwise they would not have had the chance to. 

So far topics such as mental health, sexism, philosophy, sexuality, and human rights have been discussed in an open-minded, lively and intelligent way. Student Tamarah Heath, who attends, says that: “...It creates a unity between a diverse range of students and ultimately creates conversation... (And) it’s going well and now it’s just a matter of getting the word out and getting more people involved.” 

Prospective plans to expand the number of participants, create a ‘Soapbox’ sign and to make the place into a ‘Domain’ have also been discussed. 

For more details on the ‘Soapbox’ go and have a look for yourself on Monday or Tuesday second break.



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