A town hall is a great way to connect the national crisis in higher education to its impact on your community. It’s hard to conceptualize a $1.6 trillion crisis, but it’s a lot easier to speak about the daily hardships and frustrated dreams that result from it.
The College for All Committee has prepared a sample slide show, a sample agenda, and a list of helpful tips that can help you host a town hall on your campus!
Town Hall Tips
- Invite student club leaders, faculty members, campus labor, administrators, and local representatives as well as the student community at-large to this event.
- Remember to read our College for All Organizing Guide in order to be fully-prepared to talk about the national campaign!
- Choose a date
- Choose a location
- Serve food and refreshments if possible
- Assign tasks to everyone organizing the town hall:
- Facilitator: Makes sure the agenda is being followed, keeps track of time and of progressive stack, and engages others in discussion.
- Outreach: Makes sure the event is advertised on social media and invites faculty, student government, and other student clubs.
- Note-taker: Takes note of audience participation.
- Logistics: Books a space for the meeting and takes care of the audiovisual needs of the town hall.
- Assign speaking parts.
This sample agenda follows our sample slide show
- Introductions: Organizers introduce themselves and explain the purpose of the town hall.
- Community Agreements: Go over the YDSA Community Agreements.
- Describe the National Crisis: What’s the problem? What are the important facts and figures?
- Describe the Local Crisis: How has this problem affected your community?
Tip: Personal stories and testimonies can be a powerful way to contextualize the crisis. Remember to keep your audience engaged by asking them to answer these questions, and then answering them yourselves.
- Austerity: How has disinvestment in education affected the quality of the education and daily experience in your campus?
- Privatization: Has tuition gone up? How have these rising costs affected students?
- Debt: What’s the average student debt on your campus? How many students graduate from your campus with debt? Share your experiences with student debt and ask the audience to share theirs.
- The Way Forward: How is YDSA fighting to cancel student debt and win college for all?
- Discussion: Pose a discussion question, here are a few examples:
Tip: Take note of the people who participate and of good contributions.
- Why should education be a right?
- Announcements and Ask: Make a specific ask of your audience.
- Email and call your representatives
- Attend a YDSA meeting to get more involved
- Announce upcoming events and meetings
- Stick Around: Mingle with the audience after the town hall!