Trending Topics


Trending Topics is the annual Student Union speaker series funded by the SU Treasury. The goal of this series is to bring high caliber speakers from around the world to Washington University in St. Louis. In reaching this goal, we will not only provide student groups with a chance to program around these events, but we will also be providing the entire WashU and St. Louis area with new ideas and perspectives.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to the VP of Programming (

Submission Process

In February, Student Union will announce the upcoming release of the Trending Topics speaker submission form for all eligible groups (CAT I, II, and SU Entities). Groups will have the remainder of the month to reach out to the VP of Programming with any questions, as well as research speakers that they are interested in.

The form asks for:

  • The group’s name
  • The speaker they would like to nominate
  • Why the speaker should be brought to campus (the dialogue they would start on campus, different causes they advocate for, issues they would address, etc.) 

After receiving all of the speaker names, the VP of Programming will email the list of names to the Campus Life advisor. Over the following 3-4 weeks, the Campus Life advisor will research all of the suggested names and attempt to get price quotes for each speaker as well as the availability of the speaker.

The speaker is not eligible for Trending Topics if:

  • The advisor is unable to contact the speaker/agent before the Trending Topics appeals session.
  • Price Ceiling: The speaker is quoted for more than $100,000
  • Price Floor: The speaker is quoted for below $10,000

$10,000 ≤ All-inclusive Quote Price $100,000

The list of speaker nominations along with price quotes will be sent to the VP of Programming after the form is closed. The VP of Programming will work with the Speaker of the Treasury to determine which speakers will be presented at Treasury. Both officers will work together, using their discretion, to determine the list of speakers that go to Treasury.

Once the appeal list is determined, the VP of Programming will notify groups as to whether or not their nominated speaker has been selected to advance in the process. The email will clearly explain the guidelines for the Trending Topics Appeals Session presentations. All presentations for Trending Topics should be emailed to the Speaker of the Treasury by the Wednesday prior to the Treasury Appeals Session.

Following the appeal session, the VP of Programming will follow up with each student group to let them know if the speaker they nominated was funded for Trending Topics. After the session, the list of speakers will be sent to the Campus Life advisor so that he/she can immediately begin sending offer letters. The VP of Programming will work closely with each student group to assist with programming opportunities as contracts are signed.