Mark Johnson returns with 5-Minute Speeches

Ben Levine

These days at Lawrence, learning something new from your classmates doesn’t take more than five minutes of your time. This term Lawrence senior Mark Johnson is spearheading the comeback of small discussions about any topic that he likes to call “five-minute speeches.”Johnson started doing these speeches for a simple reason: to learn what other people think is important and to tell other people what he thinks is important. It is with this basic idea that Johnson decided to start a small, informal forum for voicing the issues of all Lawrence students.

The topics of the speeches cover anything that the speakers want to talk about. Johnson recently gave a speech for freshmen with some advice about picking classes during a term.

“The best piece of advice for freshmen is to ignore class descriptions and whatever subject you think you’re destined for and take courses based on how well the professors inspire you or challenge you where you need it,” said Johnson.

He continued, “Get some recommendations from friends and sit in on as many classes as you can during first two weeks of the term to figure out which of your friends know what they’re talking about. Things will work themselves out after that.”

Speeches can be just simple advice or sometimes they can be more controversial.

For example, Weds., January 16 there will be a speech endorsing a political candidate. Johnson encourages these types of controversial speeches because he wants to provoke thought and discussion on campus.

The five-minute speeches occur every Monday and Wednesday at 12:25 p.m. by the clock outside of Main Hall. Anyone is welcome to give a speech — just e-mail Johnson at to sign up.

So, if you love Sonic Youth, worship Krishna, campaign for Rudy, or hated “Spider-Man 3,” come and tell everyone why.