Volunteer Lethbridge, CKXU, and the Students Union at the University of Lethbridge (ULSU) are combining forces to put on a Voice Drive at the University of Lethbridge during the month of January and February. The purpose of the Voice Drive is to collect 10 voices from donors so people who have no voice may get matched to these donors.
The Voice Drive at the U of L is using the program called Vocalid. Vocalid is a program created by professor Rupal Patel, and the main purpose of the program is to collect a variety of voices to put in a voice bank. After collecting voices for the voice bank, these voices can be used by individuals who have no voice, and have to rely on a computer to communicate.
The process of recording your voice is quite simple. It takes approximately 8-10 hours of incremented time (3,500 sentences), a sound-proof room, and, you need to be connected to the right sound system to create better quality. It’s that simple. It is just an investment of time, because, without the full donation of all of the sentences, the voice is not usable.
Please Watch this TED Talk for more information on the project: https://www.vocalid.co/about (it is quite inspiring).
I have previous experience working with Volunteer Lethbridge and the ULSU to bring the program Vocalid to the University of Lethbridge campus. Volunteer Lethbridge has facilitated this project for many years at their location and there is a great amount of interest. They have been fortunate enough to have over 70 people fully donate their voice, and the numbers keep growing. Their goal for Lethbridge this year is to record 150 voices, in recognition of Canada’s 150th year of Confederation.
I, Jessica Diakow, am a General Assembly Representative of the ULSU, and thought this project was a great opportunity for students to volunteer, enhance their resumes, and find fulfillment in the University community with a big initiative such as this. It is a great learning opportunity for many students studying in a variety of fields such as: Psychology, Linguistics, Management, New Media, Nursing, and many more. I took on this project last year as a student volunteer and it provided me with important opportunities such as; increased involvement in the Students Union, a better understanding of the importance of volunteerism, taking on a leadership role and connections with CKXU.
This year CKXU has graciously provided the state of the art recording studios as space to record 10 voices. This is roughly 100 hours of recording time donated by the radio station, specifically the manager Aaron Trozzo. The ULSU has provided some funding to help this program run smoothly, including giving an honorarium of $150 to 2 facilitators who are going to run the program and make sure the 10 voices are fully recorded, as it is an all or nothing donation.
Project Coordinator: Jessica Diakow
General Assembly Arts and Science Rep.
University of Lethbridge Students’ Union
SU180 – 4401 University Drive W, Lethbridge, AB T1K 3M4
P: 403.593-4905 | E: [email protected]