Since its establishment in 1935, the Communication Arts and Sciences Department has been inextricably linked with public speaking, and since 1959, the foundational speech course has been a graduation requirement for all Penn State students.
Each semester, CAS celebrates this history and the outstanding students our CAS 100A instructors teach each semester by hosting the Civic Engagement Public Speaking Contest.
Students in each section of CAS 100A nominate a classmate to represent their section in the Quarterfinals of the Contest. Students present an extended version of their second speaking assignment, the Problem-Policy speech, in which they explain a significant and urgent civic or communal problem and detail a possible solution. The top speaker from each round moves onto the Semifinals, and the top six speakers become the Contest Finalists. Finalists compete for cash and gift card prizes in front of an audience of students, instructors, and community members, and a catered reception is open to all after the event. A panel of judges evaluates the competition, and a film crew records the performances.