NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Speech-A-Palooza: The show must go on

In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, Northern Essex Community College’s Principles of Public Relations class has concluded that the sixth annual public speaking event, Speech-A-Palooza, will be held completely virtually over three days from April 22 through April 24 on social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube.
The Principles of Public Relations class had been working from the beginning of the 2020 spring semester to plan Speech-A-Palooza which has taken place on the Haverhill Campus for the past five years.
However, due to the recent actions put in place involving social distancing and the college’s closing in cooperation with social distancing, it left the class wondering if the event would still go on.
Professor David Rattigan, proposed to the class that they continue on with the event strictly online and use it as a learning opportunity. The class, not wanting to have put in all this work in vain, ate up the idea and are making arrangements to host the first ever online Speech-A-Palooza. 
Over multiple Zoom meetings, a video chat platform where all NECC classes are being held, the class has taken the opportunity to make the event a success. 
Event production member, Evan O’Connell said, “To be honest, Speech-A-Palooza might benefit from moving from in-person on campus to an online forum.  We are no longer focused on getting people in the door but instead now focused on getting people to watch the videos online.”  
O’Connell’s job includes reaching out to the media, like radio stations, TV stations, and newspapers, in an effort to get coverage of the event. “There has been significant coverage in the media about how colleges and students are adapting to virtual learning due to COVID-19.
We can use our experiences to leverage additional coverage for Speech-A-Palooza,” O’Connell continued.
Andrew Venditti, member of the Executive Committee of the event, had been in contact with the charity on the campus before the event was moved online. After the transition, Venditti continued to work with them and was introduced to the Emergency Fund that the college has set up.
The fund will cover laptop and/or internet access for online learning, tuition assistance and stipends (should students now be food insecure because of lost wages) and other needs that have come up because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
 “We thought that Speech-A-Palooza would be a good opportunity and platform to spread awareness of NECC’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund,” Venditti said.
The event will continue to be put together solely by the students, and videos that are uploaded will be linked on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

Related Articles