Hosting a Town Hall on College for All

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.

Sample Agenda

This sample agenda follows our sample slide show

  1. Introductions: Organizers introduce themselves and explain the purpose of the town hall.
  2. Community Agreements: Go over the YDSA Community Agreements.
  3. Describe the National Crisis: What’s the problem? What are the important facts and figures?
    • Austerity
    • Privatization
    • Debt
  4. 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.
  5. The Way Forward: How is YDSA fighting to cancel student debt and win college for all?
  6. 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?
  7. Announcements and Ask: Make a specific ask of your audience.
    1. Email and call your representatives
    2. Attend a YDSA meeting to get more involved
    3. Announce upcoming events and meetings
  8. Stick Around: Mingle with the audience after the town hall!