Welcome to the Free to Speak Op-ed Campaign — an opportunity for undergraduates at universities with illiberal speech codes to promote free speech on college campuses!

Are you currently in attendance at a university with a yellow or red rating on FIRE’s Free Speech Rankings? Are you chafing under the yoke of illiberal speech codes on your college campus? Do you have ideas and opinions for how those speech codes ought to change? If so, then the Young Voices Free To Speak Op-ed Campaign is for you! Read on to learn how you can get paid for getting your ideas published in your school newspaper or in one of your state’s largest papers.

Young Voices is considering op-ed submissions on free speech codes from students across the US. We’re doing this in concert with the release of the Free To Choose Network’s latest docuseries, Free To Speak, which airs October 1. Accepted submissions will be edited by our team of seasoned editors who will help you pitch your piece for publication. Young Voices will pay participants up to $200 for successfully published articles (subject to terms and conditions).

Welcome to the Free to Speak Op-ed Campaign — an opportunity for undergraduates at universities with illiberal speech codes to promote free speech on college campuses!

Rules & Submission Guidelines


Young Voices will consider submissions from August 28 – December 1. All submissions must be sent from school email addresses (.edu), and must include three elements: 

  • A brief email introducing yourself, your school and your opinion (no more than 200 words)
  • A photo or pdf of a valid student ID. 
  • A word or google doc containing a 500-800 word op-ed draft that references your school’s yellow or red rating on FIRE’s Free Speech Rankings and suggests reforms to improve the state of free speech on your college campus.

Students who have their piece successfully published at their school paper or in a relevant local or national newspaper will be granted an award of $100. A relevant local outlet is defined as one of the top 5 most-read outlets in the same state as the university the student attends. A relevant national outlet is defined as any outlet with at least 50K monthly viewers as measured by YV’s in-house tools. Students whose published op-eds mention the Free To Speak docuseries will be granted an additional $100.

Successful applicants will be required to sign a participation agreement laying out the terms and conditions of payment. 

If you are interested in participating in the campaign, send your submissions to [email protected] today!





Frequently Asked Questions


The campaign is open to all undergraduates currently enrolled at universities rated yellow or red on FIRE’s Free Speech Ranking. You can check your school’s ranking using FIRE’s school finder here!


An op-ed is a short opinion piece (500-800 words) published by a newspaper and written by an outside contributor (non-staff). Op-eds are written in plain language and generally follow this simple structure: 

  • Title: A catchy headline that captures the reader’s attention
  • Lede: A punchy sentence that reaches out and grabs reader, signaling the topic at hand
  • Nutgraf/Thesis: The paragraph following your lede that explains to the reader in brief what is happening and what ought to be done about it. The nutgraf should provide a blueprint for where your op-ed is going.
  • Body: The “meat” of the op-ed, using evidence (e.g. statistics, studies, expert testimony, statement of fact, personal anecdote, etc.) to support your thesis
  • Conclusion: Summary paragraph highlighting the piece’s main arguments
  • Bio: 1-3 sentence about the author establishing expertise in the subject

We will be considering pieces ranging from 500-800 words. Much shorter and much longer op-ed submission will not be considered eligible for the campaign. 


Upon successful publication of your op-ed, the YV Team will provide you with a simple invoice form for you to fill out and send to [email protected] along with a link to your published article. From there, the YV Team will help you set up a direct deposit for payment. 


The Free To Choose Network’s Free To Speak docuseries premiers on YouTube on October 5th.

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