Do you know about the new Oglethorpe Debate Council? After being approved in February by SGA, the Council prepared for and competed in its first tournament at Piedmont College’s Mayflower Classic in early April. The experience was as educational as it was enjoyable, and the team members left with enhanced skills and a deeper desire to continue and improve their team.
“The purpose of the Debate Council,” explained Council President Don Warden ’16, ”is to embrace the art of persuasion and the sport of debate through regular meetings and practices, in addition to state and regional competition… and to encourage a love of political and philosophical rhetoric in its members and the greater community.”
Don, along with council members Luise Hessing ’16, Shanice Lover ’16, Barry Rowan ’14, Tony Adamson ’16, John Kontoghiorghes ’16, Maddie McIntosh ’16 and Ty Murphy ’16, met many times before the competition to learn theory and hold practice rounds. The type of debate they studied is called Parliamentary or “parli” debate, and it involves two sides: the Opposition (con) and Government (pro), each of which have 15-30 minutes to prepare their arguments after a topic is randomly chosen.
“My favorite part about being a member is the community (that) debate creates,” said Don. “The debate community extends beyond just the Oglethorpe Team. Everyone at this tournament was nice and friendly, and once you debate against the same schools enough you learn to be vicious to a team in the round, but best friends with them out of the round. It is also a wonderful way to connect to high school students who either currently debate or want to do collegiate debate.”
Don stressed that anyone can benefit by joining debate, and the council has many things to offer in the upcoming semesters.
“We plan to meet regularly every week,” said Don, ”and we plan on competing 2-3 times a semester. Moreover, we will judge local high school tournaments in an effort to improve debate quality and recruit for OU… We are also looking to work with other new collegiate debate teams, and perhaps have mock/skirmish debates on campus about pertinent issues. Oglethorpe Debate will be a member of the Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association (GPDA) whenever we compete at their annual tournament next year, and we hope to join the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) next year. Our long term goals are to sustain the program and eventually host a collegiate tournament.”