Office of Civic Engagement

Building My Voice

Lara Schwartz, Director of the Project on Civil Discourse at American University, describes what it means to be an architect of your voice in the publication Building My Voice (PDF)


“Our choices of how to communicate, what conversations to engage in, and whether and how we listen to others are at the core of our learning experience. Our voice is ours to build; we are the architects. Building our voice involves actively deciding how best to communicate in service of our goals and values; taking responsibility for our choices as a member of the university community; pushing ourselves to engage in rigorous inquiry; and challenging ourselves to make the most of our education.”


Building your voice includes making ethical decisions about what you say or do, and understanding the First Amendment helps you to make legal decisions about how you use our voice in service to your goals and values. The resources below will assist you in learning more about the rights and responsibilities of free speech on our campus.