Popular contest rewards ALES students and audience

Macgregor Smith Public Speaking Competition runs January 24

Helen Metella - 15 January 2018

For everyone who appreciates short, clear solutions to complicated problems, the annual Macgregor Smith Public Speaking Competition is a fun evening for discovering who delivers that best.

During the lively competition, 12 undergraduates from the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences' diverse areas of study each get five minutes to explain how they would fix one of the world's pressing concerns.

This year, participants are tackling a wide spectrum of issues, including the promise of non-toxic flow batteries, political extremism and the future of porn.

The competition has been a tradition within the faculty since 1931. It was established by Jack Macgregor Smith, a professor of agricultural engineering who was renowned and revered for his ability to speak with polished ease. It has continued to flourish as a friendly yet competitive opportunity for students to develop public speaking skills. It also allows students from a faculty of applied science to explore ideas with that have additional roots in the social sciences, business, the arts and humanities.

Judges this year are Stan Blade, dean of the Faculty of ALES; Anne Bissonnette, associate professor of material culture and curatorship in the Department of Human Ecology; Katie Bhar McPherson, winner of last year's competition; and alumni Margarete Hee, '77 BSc, Forestry, and Ken Davies, '65 BSc, Agriculture.

The winning speeches receive cash prizes, in the amounts of $800, $500 and $300. All students who attend, both as speakers and audience members, are eligible for a nifty draw prize valued at $130-a JBL Flip 4 Waterproof Bluetooth speaker. There will also be free finger food for all attendees.

The Macgregor Smith Public Speaking Competition takes place Wednesday, Jan. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 in ECHA Room 1-190.