SUSO Student Projects

“[SUSO has] helped me to become more aware of what is happening that I can change. I learned that I like to make a difference, especially
in things that influence the people around me.” --Past SUSO Student Participant 

Speak Up! Speak Out! projects focus on a problem impacting the local community. By allowing students to select problems that have a direct impact on their lives, we hope to show students the importance of being engaged at the local level.

Each team's final project should include two short speeches, which they will video record and submit to semifinals for the chance to present at the State Civics Fair. At the State civics Fair, students present to a panel of judges, parents, and the community. Speeches provide information about the team's problem and proposed solution.

To see more examples of what the State Civics Fair looks like, what other teams have done in the past and what teams are working on now, we encourage students and teachers to follow us on Facebook.

Project Guidelines

 Teams can use this document to help guide them through the four stages of the SUSO process.

When choosing your problem, you and your teammates should:

  • Research your problem extensively and be prepared to tell judges how you obtained your information, what your sources were, and how in-depth your research went.
  • Define your problem clearly. Homelessness is a problem, but it can be framed as a problem due to lack of jobs, lack of low income housing, lack of mental health care, or even a lack of drug treatment facilities. Be prepared to clearly frame your problem so your solution can be more specific.
  • Be prepared to state why this problem outweighs other concerns in the community. Why should we pay special attention to this problem?
  • Know all sides of your issue. Do not just research those who agree, but also research those who disagree so your arguments can be well-grounded.

When preparing for the Speeches, students should keep the following in mind:

  • Each team will present a four minute informative speech about their focal problem, as well as a four minute persuasive speech presenting their proposed solution.
  • Time counts! In order to include everyone's speech, we must adhere to strict time guidelines.
  • Practice your speech. Presentation is an important part of the Speak Out! session.
  • Know your sources. Be prepared to back up assertions with evidence from your research.
  • Be prepared to answer judges' questions. Practice presenting to a new set of students and have them ask questions of the speakers.