Debate team gets ready for new term

The growing LMC Debate Team has set a record for the largest fall squad in its history and is looking forward to a successful debate season both on campus and off.

The team boasts 15 new members and five returning debaters who will participate in local public debates and Worlds Debate tournaments.

“This semester we have a huge team, at current count we have 20 members,” said Assistant Professor and Co-Director of Forensics Marie Arcidiacono. “This is the largest fall semester team we have ever had.”

The first debates of the semester will be the Aztec Invitational at San Diego State University Oct. 2-4 and the Claremont McKenna Invitational at Claremont McKenna College Oct. 8-11.

Worlds Debate tournaments consist of students getting topics 15 minutes before their actual debate rounds, so students won’t know their topics until then and need to draw on knowledge they have mastered.

Because of this, student debaters must keep up with current events in the news. The Debate Team course includes quizzes on current events to insure team members are following the news.

“The debate team provides our students with the ability to engage in critical thinking, impromptu thinking and increase their knowledge about domestic and international events,” said Arcidiacono.

Austin Brown, who joined the Debate Team to improve his public speaking and get over nervousness about talking in front of peers, added that he wants to be “more up-to-date on current events and what’s happening in the world.”

Other students agree that debate experience contributes to their overall knowledge and abilities.

“Whenever I go to competitions, I feel like I’m growing as a person,” said Yetunde Ogunleye.

Team member Grace Babayan added that tournament participants gain “skills that can be put into the real world.”

Competition requires that debaters bond as a team so, Arcidiacono said, “We also have weekly ‘team dinner’ after practice on Wednesday to encourage our team members to get-to-know each other.”

Last year, the debate team switched formats from Parliamentary Debate to Worlds Debate, which focuses more on content and delivery than on the technical strategies of argumentation such as speed speaking.

“We are very happy with the decision. Worlds debate provides an even playing field, where a debater’s knowledge and ability to research prior to the tournament are truly relied on,” said Arcidiacono.

In addition to competition, the debate team participates in local public debates, which have been held at Pittsburg City Hall in the past. There are also intramural debates on campus at the end of each semester, in which any LMC student can participate to see if debate is for them. Both of these upcoming events are still in the planning stages.

If you are interested in learning more about the Debate Team, email Arcidiacono at [email protected] or stop by a team meeting Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. in CC1-115.