Student Organization Spotlight: Temple Debate Society

The Temple Debate Society takes on about two debate tournaments each month. The fifteen members, ranging all years from freshmen to seniors, attend debate tournaments around the United States.

Temple Debate Society members after a bonding dinner (Courtesy: Gillian McGuire)

At these competitions, students debate formally by following the rules of the American Parliamentary Debate Association, an intercollegiate debating group which sponsors and plans the debates. Other teams represent different schools such as George Washington University, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia University, and New York University.

“Tournaments are most of the day Friday and all day Saturday,” says Amanda Smith, President of the Temple Debate Society and junior Global Studies and German majors. “So they can be quite tiring but super rewarding.”

Debates can be two sided arguments surrounding a broad range of issues for the competitors. These issues come in cases or case statements, which are similar to prompts, for one round per debate.

“After the round’s over we talk about the round,” Smith explains. “Just like what everyone thought about it, what everyone’s actual opinions are on it, just clarifying the round you know because we learn about something new each time so it can be about feminism in third world countries one day and then we talk about, like, food insecurities the next.”

This past weekend, the Temple Debate Society packed up and stayed in Princeton for a tournament from Friday, April 6th to Saturday, April 7th.

According to Smith, student debate organizations at Temple have been active since the 1960s but the clubs had always ended due to lack of interest. The Temple Debate Society, which meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, started five years ago after some students were interested in debating. Although debate teams at Temple have died out in the past, Smith is sure that the Temple Debate Society will stay active in the future

“The club will definitely live long after I’m gone. This year we’ve had the most freshmen join and stick around ever,” says Smith.

I initially joined because I saw Temple Debate team at welcome week and I wanted to get involved and meet people at Temple who had similar interests,” says Rachel Berston, a freshman majoring in communications and political science.

“My favorite part of debate club is how much of a family we are,” says Gillian McGuire, a freshman engineering major. “Hanging out with everyone and just learning new things.”

Students looking to get involved with Temple Debate Society can find more information here.

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