Free speech boards allow your peers to participate by offering responses to a question or statement. This activity is a great way to encourage engagement and to get an idea for what your campus thinks about pregnant and parenting students and/or the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. You can use the responses to discuss new topics that your group should address and what events would best answer those questions and concerns.
Step by Step Guide
- Decide on a topic. What statement or question would you like to be the center of your discussion? This depends on what you aim to learn from your peers and what your group hopes to do with the information. (See prompt ideas below.)
- Create your display. To save money for your group, create a board that can be reused! You can use a trifold board or a dry erase board and set it on an easel. If you use a trifold board, put Post-It sticky notes and markers out on a table. (That way, the Post-Its can be removed and the board reused.) If you use a dry erase board, simply place dry erase markers on the table or taped to a string attached to the board. At the top of your board, write in big bold letters your statement/question.
- Schedule your event. Request tabling space on campus. Try to pick a time between classes when most of your members can join and when students are most likely to be moving around campus (e.g. lunch time). Pick a space on campus that will get a lot of foot traffic (e.g. cafeteria, club tabling area, walkway).
- Prepare your volunteers. Depending on how long you schedule your event, you may need 2-3 shifts of volunteers. Always try to have at least 2 members present at the table. Also, take time to train your students on the topic that you have chosen so that they feel comfortable answers questions and challenges. Prepare any materials that you may decide to display on a table next to the board.
- Advertise. Announce your event on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram. Post flyers letting students know when and where to find you. Invite your roommates and classmates to stop by.
- Go get ’em! As you are setting up your display, take time to add your own notes to the the Board. Invite passing students to participate. You can ask questions like: “Have you written on our Board?” “What do you think about…?” “Do you have a moment to share your thoughts?”. Ask people what they wrote and why. Enjoy the experience, and remember to smile!
Free Speech Board Prompts
Use your Free Speech Board to generate constructive, positive, and helpful conversations. If you are hoping to propose changes on your campus or to come up with new Pregnant on Campus projects, try a question that asks about resources. If you are simply aiming at breaking stigma and promoting a positive message, go with a statement that encourages messages of support.
Here are some resource questions:
- How can we better support pregnant and parenting students?
- Where would you direct a pregnant friend for help?
- What challenges have you (or a friend) faced as a pregnant or parenting student?
- What resources would make our campus more “family friendly”?
Your group can add notes on the board for resource items that you already know about to help guide the conversation.
For messages of support, try prompts like:
- Share your support for pregnant and parenting students!
- Pregnant and parenting students are…
- What would you say to your pregnant friend?
Add messages like “”I support you,” You are strong and capable,” “Pregnancy doesn’t have to change your goals,” or “You can do this” to start the board in a positive theme.
With any outreach event, you are going to have to take some meeting time to prepare your members to answer questions and challenges. Here’s what you should consider reviewing before hosting this event:
- Explain your group: Students are likely to ask you questions about your group and your mission. Take time to go over a 30-second pitch about your group and your Pregnant on Campus Initiative.
- Know your resources: Your members should know resources like: campus health center, local pregnancy resource center, local federally qualified health center It will help to be aware of their locations and services. You don’t have to have everything memorized. You can prepare a simple handout, and you can even ask your local PRC for brochures to hand out. You can also request FREE student group materials from Students for Life of America to create a tabling display.
- Prepare for questions: Talk about possible responses to the Free Speech statement/question and how you should respond if in a conversation with a classmate. Schedule a FREE Apologetics Training with your Regional Coordinator if you think that your group needs more preparation.
Don’t forget to put a sign up sheet on your table for any students who may be interested in joining your group!