Debate team set to rebuild

Dale Satre , @DaleSatre

Riding on victories last spring, the Los Medanos College Debate Club has many things to be excited for— new members, new student leadership, and a new full-time faculty member. Those strengths are also the club’s biggest challenges this year. With many veteran members having graduated, debaters have big shoes to fill for this year’s tournaments.

LMC’s speech department operates under three groups. The Argumentation and Debate classes, taught by professors Marie Arcidiacono-Kaufman and Star Steers, educate students about the fundamentals of rhetoric, research and persuasion.

The Debate Club recruits students from the classes and the campus at large who are interested in debating as an extracurricular activity. The club also has a dedicated Debate Team that competes in local and national tournaments, winning first place nationally for community colleges at the U.S. Universities Debating Championship in April.

Hailey Solares, an international relations major, stepped up as the new president.

“This year is a recruitment year,” she said. “A lot of debaters graduated in the spring so we are rebuilding our team. Now, I run the meetings so it is an interesting switch.”

Solares was inspired by how debating has shaped her college experience.

“I have met so many great peers from debate. Since joining the team, I changed my major because it exposed me to what I am passionate about,” she said. “I am more confident in my opinions and know how to back them up effectively. I became a more open-minded individual from having to debate things I do not necessarily agree with.”

Steers joined Arcidiacono-Kaufman this year as full-time faculty in the speech department and as a co-advisor to the club.

“I am thrilled that I get to share this role with her,” Arcidiacono-Kaufman said. “Having her as my partner in all of this is huge. I know that I can rely on her to ensure our new team is successful.”

Steers voiced her excitement for the coming year. As a former part-time professor and assistant coach to the debate team, the new role energizes her.

“What makes me most optimistic is we have a very young team, with several high schoolers with great skills,” Steers remarked. “That makes me feel very happy to have people coming in with excitement and knowledge, and if we get them to stick around with us we’ll have an amazing team.”

The biggest challenge this year is filling the experience gap left by graduated veterans.

“We are trying to convince rookie debaters to just go for it,” Steers said, “and get better by doing it.”

The team’s next tournament will be the Penguin Invitational held at Dominican University on Nov. 3 and 4.