|The College Speaking Project Takes Off|
|Written by Laura Katleman & Richard Gage, AIA|
|Friday, 14 December 2012 16:43|
Hope for Public Awareness of 9/11 Truth May Lie With the Youth
Richard Gage, AIA, and other AE911Truth presenters have spoken in more than 50 colleges and universities in the United States and around the world. However, only a half dozen of these events so far have resulted from direct invitations from the institutions that were also paid for by them. Dave Slesinger, the leader of the AE911Truth Public Outreach Team, wanted that situation to change. He wanted AE911Truth to be sought after by dozens –– even hundreds –– of academic institutions who would recognize and respond to the need of their students and faculty to have access to the controversial truth about the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11/01.
Twenty years earlier, …Dave had attended a conference held by the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA). NACA and Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) provide convenient access for colleges to hire speakers and entertainers by producing conferences to showcase their talents. Hoping to be booked for the upcoming spring or fall semester, the speakers present their ten-minute showcase talks and acts to campus activities directors and their students.
This past spring, Dave realized how the college speaking circuit could apply to the mission of AE911Truth.
Next, we contacted some colleges to determine if they thought we would have a reasonable chance of getting bookings. After many encouraging informational interviews with campus activities directors and a lengthy conversation with the president of APCA, we felt strongly that college speaking had a real shot of providing the opening we had been looking for to wake up the younger generation.
Richard decided to make the case to our three dozen larger donors. Most of them responded enthusiastically and climbed on board the AE911Truth college speaking outreach bandwagon – and in just a little over two weeks, they gifted the $20,000 necessary to attend all three regional fall APCA conferences!
Gage was humbled:
Then came the hard work: creating a professional booth display system, a college-focused website, a promotional video trailer, advertisements for the three APCA directories, and last but not least – a hard-hitting showcase speech! Heartfelt thanks goes to Larry Landon, Tim Michel, Tania Torres, Gregg Roberts, Dave Slesinger, Mitch Axelrod, and Chuck Smith for the countless hours they contributed to this project!
Mitch, our own marketing guru, helped us to hone the message in order to speak candidly and directly to the students. We wanted them to know why 9/11 truth mattered – or we might be just talking past them with facts that they might find disturbing but not directly relevant to their own lives. Of great importance, of course: 9/11 spawned the invasion of two countries and killed millions of innocents, as well as almost 7,000 U.S. soldiers, many of whom were their friends. In addition, most of these students are completely unaware that many of their precious civil liberties have been stolen from them. So we wanted to put it, viscerally, in front of them. We chose to show them a stark example of the shift in the police tactics, which has become a systematic violation of basic civil rights.
In fact, as Gage notes in the new 10-min showcase video,
In less than a month, our college speaking site, 911ExplosiveEvidence.org, was up and running, the artwork for the booth display was complete, and the college trailer was in the can. After more than 60 showcase speech revisions and countless hours of painstaking rehearsals by Richard, it was finally show time. This was new material for us – and it had to be nailed!
Our first of three conferences in the effort to reach our new market was the APCA Northeast Regional Conference in Syracuse, New York. Richard, Dave, and I attended and found that most of the 44 schools in attendance were from upstate New York, with a few participants from Pennsylvania. In general, the students and campus activities directors were a bit standoffish at first, but opened up to hearing the message.
We passed out hundreds of brochures and copies of our mini-documentary that went viral, Architects & Engineers: Solving the Mystery of WTC 7. Almost no one had heard about WTC 7.
Richard gave the most powerful rapid presentation of the evidence as I had ever seen him give, and I’ve been to over a dozen now! During his talk, as I looked around the showcasing room of almost 200 college students and their advisers, not a single person was talking or texting. Their eyes were glued to the screen and their faces expressed a mix of incredulity and shock.
Afterwards, our booth became a destination. According to several people who stopped by, Richard’s showcase was the buzz of the conference. Several were now texting their friends back home and calling their professors to relate the information that had
When it came time for the booking sessions, one of the schools expressed preliminary interest and “locked in” our lower conference-only booking rate. Although we were hoping for more on-the-spot bookings, we realized that, for our topic, the conferences would serve as a “first exposure” to the startling information. Most said that they needed to become more familiar with the evidence and then discuss it with their administrators or faculty members. The real bookings would come as a result of concerted post-conference follow-up, which Mike Figa and I are focused on.
Our second major event was in Coralville, Iowa, at the Southwest Regional APCA Conference. During the week leading up to the conference, Richard had memorized the continually revised short speech based on feedback from the Syracuse Conference.
Coincidentally, we had already been invited to a nearby major regional conference occurring just a couple of days earlier in St. Cloud, Minnesota! We were able to rearrange our schedule under official academic booking by Dr. Julie Adrzejewski, Professor of Human Relations and Multicultural Education at St. Cloud State University.
As usual, Richard didn’t disappoint, giving two dynamite PowerPoint presentations of the evidence.
The first was a daytime talk to students and faculty at St. Cloud Technical and Community College during a regularly scheduled class period. The attendees were very impressed with the depth and objectivity of the information and shared impassioned video testimonials that now appear on www.911explosiveevidence.org.
On the same evening, Professor Andrzejewski organized a second presentation in a packed auditorium of 187 professors and students at the First Annual Conference on Social Justice at St. Cloud State University. The atmosphere was electric. By the end of the presentation, all of the 44 audience members who originally believed the official 9/11 story abandoned it. Of the 57 attendees who were unsure beforehand, all but 12 eventually agreed that the three WTC skyscrapers were brought down by explosive controlled demolition. Every person in attendance also acknowledged that all colleges should make this information available at their campuses.
The next afternoon, we set off on a short car trip to Coralville, Iowa. After driving through what seemed to be one vast, incredibly flat cornfield, the elegant Coralville Marriott, with its elevated trails that spanned miles of lush marshlands, appeared like an oasis. We arrived to a much different, more intellectually curious and informed crowd of students and advisors than we had experienced before. Greater numbers of students were aware of media censorship, several had heard of Building 7, and there was more civic engagement than we experienced in Syracuse.
During the very first exhibit-hall event, a student walked up to me, shook my hand, and thanked me for coming. Assuring me that she already knew a great deal about the evidence, she offered to help us in any way she could. In addition to doing her best to convince her classmates and advisor to bring us to their campus, she hoped to start an AE911Truth Action Group at her school. It was quite an encouraging start to our conference!
Again, Richard’s showcase captivated the audience, and students surrounded the booth to give us their impassioned video testimonials.
They were adamant that students had to see this evidence so they could make up their own minds about what happened on 9/11.
At the booking session, we again received one “active interest slip” – submitted this time by an advisor rather than a student, who needed to go back to campus to present our information to a committee. Once again, we learned that bookings were more likely to come out of the conference after a two- to four-week period – when we start the post conference follow-up.
Rounding out AE911Truth’s premiere venture into the world of college showcasing was the Southwest Regional APCA conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. This third and final event to garner professional college speaking engagements for Richard Gage’s presentation of the WTC evidence was aimed primarily at community colleges in the Southwest United States.
At the last minute, Richard was invited to present at a prestigious international tribunal in Malaysia on the very same weekend. Rather than canceling our booth and presentation, APCA graciously provided us an unprecedented opportunity to deliver the 10-minute showcase speech via video! Although nothing can replace seeing the presentation live, the video commanded the rapt attention of the students and campus activities directors and received what was described by our volunteers as a thunderous applause.
We are especially grateful to Dan Barnum, FAIA, Jackie Carpenter, and Mark Sebesta for stepping up, driving hours each way from Houston and Austin to Corpus Christi, and devoting their weekend to waking up the 250 students and campus activities directors in attendance. We couldn’t have pulled this off without you!
Among them were university professors – experts in constitutional law and professionals with highly respected credentials in science, law, politics, and academia – who have dedicated much of their lives to research and investigation into the truth of events that not only contradict official reports, but connect the various dots composing a much larger picture.
Here is what Dan, Jackie, and Mark reported back to us:
The Friday Session:
In the Exhibit Hall session following Richard’s video appearance, I had roughly 25 requests for DVDs of the talk, with comments like
Jackie and I worked both sessions on Saturday. We had about 3-4 people who were quite interested each session. Two schools in particular wanted to pursue getting more information about bringing Richard to their campuses. ––Mark Sebesta
One older African-American person whose title I don’t remember worked with students and recommended that we get our foot in the door by offering to debate the issue on college campuses and approaching the Philosophy/Political Science/ and History profs. ––Dan Barnum
We got the contact info of a woman who said she had already seen a group like ours and was open to learning more and helping us getting a booking where she has connections. ––Jackie Carpenter
Now that the three conferences are over, the focus of the College Speaking Outreach Project is follow-up, follow-up, and more follow-up. Mike Figa and I will be heading up the effort. New volunteer Mandi Knetchel from Florida will also be helping. Join us if you also want to help in the effort at your campus, alma mater, or a college near you!
Based on our initial conversation from the schools that expressed the most interest at the conferences, we are still excited about the opportunities for bookings. These contacts say that they are still in conversation with their administrations. These next few weeks will be very telling. Stay tuned and keep your fingers crossed that we will have some good news to share shortly!
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! 12/28/12 We have received a $10,000 matching donation from Oleg Kis to place ads strategically in college campus newspapers for various college outreach opportunities. If you would like to place an ad at a campus near you or at your alma mater please email us. Or please Chipin today to help to match the funds so that others can place ads.