Debate not just for politicians

By By Clayton Norlen

By Clayton Norlen

Debate. A six-letter word that summarizes democracy.

The U’s debate team is preparing for the upcoming season and is hoping to add more students to its ranks. Traditionally, those looking to be lawyers or politicians pursue debate, but the team is looking for any student with a passionate interest in current events and open discussion.

“I joined the team because I like current events and arguing on current topics that are important with facts and figures,” said Nina Beth, a sophomore in mass communication and a member of the team. “It’s nice to argue with a format that allows you to be friends when you leave the debate.”

For Nina, the debates become a learning experience. By debating current topics she continually notices her own opinions evolving.

The team follows the Parliamentary debate style. Modeled loosely after the type of debate that is common in British Parliament, this style allows students to engage in a more lively discussion of the topic with non-verbal expressions such as pounding the table in support of an argument or groans and roars if the speaker is unsavory.

During competitions, debaters receive a new topic each round, with topics ranging in all areas of current events, both national and international. Before the debates begin, contestants are given 15 to 20 minutes for preparation, then 45 minutes of rigorous debate follows.

“If you want to become an active participant in your community, there’s no better training ground than debate,” said Brian Danielson, the team’s coach and associate professor at the U. “In debate you learn critical thinking skills, become a better public speaker, learn research skills and how to think on your feet.”

There are 12 members on the team, which has scheduled debates in Colorado, Wyoming and Berkeley, Calif., during the upcoming season.

“We’re in a growing stage as a team,” said Danielle Edres, faculty adviser to the team. “We’re working to increase membership among the team and getting students involved who wouldn’t traditionally be interested in debate — it’s not just for aspiring politicians and lawyers.”

For more information about the debate team, contact Brian Danielson at [email protected]

[email protected]