The University of Rochester Debate Union has undergone some exciting transitions this year, including a move to a new website. For up to date information on the team, please check out our new website: http://www.rochester.edu/debate/index.html
For the last public debate of the semester, the UR Debate Union decided to take on the controversial topic of whether all-male social fraternities should be banned on college campuses. The debate was very well-attended. At the end of the debate, the audience voted on which side won the argument and gave the victory to Nina and Miriam, who were arguing that fraternities should be banned.
Four debaters from the University of Rochester Debate Union participated in the debate. Outgoing URDU President Nina Datlof was the the Prime Minister, Varsity Debater and Phi Kappa Tau brother Steven Torrisi was the Leader of the Opposition, Outgoing Publicity & Recruitment Manager and Vice President-Elect Miriam Kohn was the Deputy Prime Minister, and Outgoing Vice President and President-Elect Reefat Aziz was the Deputy Leader of the Opposition. Coach Alex Martel moderated the debate and got the chance to show off his comedic skills.
After the debaters spoke, Alex opened up the floor to speeches from the audience. Several people spoke, including former President of Phi Kappa Tau Nick Benjamin, the director of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs for the University of Rochester, and multiple members of the student body.
The debate was a lot of fun and an excellent opportunity for the team to engage with the community. As the URDU winds down the year and our students prepare for final exams, a lively and well-attended public debate was a good way to close out the 2013-2014 season.
For the last tournament of the 2013-2014 season, several members of the URDU’s worlds squad made the long drive out to Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana, for the 2014 US Universities Debating Championships. The tournament was very well-run and, in an exciting turn of events, included several delicious snack breaks ranging from Insomnia Cookies to make-your-own tacos for dinner. Although none of our partnerships broke to elimination rounds, several of them did very well. Our varsity partnership of Nina & Reefat was one of the top 50 teams at the tournament, while Chris & Miriam were the 6th novice seed and missed the break to novice finals by 5 speaker points.
Outside of rounds, highlights of the tournament included beautiful, sunny weather (a truly shocking occurence for Rochesterians who are accustomed to snow and wind), team bonding over Chipotle and arm-wrestling competitions, and amusement ensuing from the USU 2014 Twitter Beam that was projected each day in the general assembly auditorium.
In between rounds, the team had some fun exploring the hotel and local area. There was even a riveting arm-wrestling tournament in one of the hotel rooms, with results hotly contested.
Although none of our partnerships broke, USU 2014 was a great way to wrap up a successful season for the URDU and everybody is very excited for what next year will bring for the team!
This past weekend, part of the URDU’s Worlds team traveled to Hamilton, NY to compete in the Colgate IV. Although none of our teams brought home awards, the experience was highly educational and the competition was stiff. The tournament also offered high-quality team bonding time in spite of the fact that the team traded the snowy trenches of Rochester for nearly identical snowy trenches in Hamilton.
At the tournament itself, teams form all around the world came and provided some excellent, high-level debates. Motions were diverse, with topics ranging from “This house believes that US foreign policy should prioritize the protection of minority rights over the support of democracy” to “This house regrets the rise of anti-hero in media.”
In between rounds, the team was able to hang out, take some photos, and unwind by exploring Hamilton.
All in all, the tournament was well-run and an excellent learning experience for the URDU’s Worlds squad.
This past weekend, the URDU’s policy squad headed to Indiana University for the always entertaining and educational CEDA nationals. The whole group had a blast and was able to learn a lot.
After an exhausting 10-hour drive, the team was able to crash at the hotel. According to sources, the hotel was downright luxurious compared to the dorm living to which the URDU squad is accustomed. The rooms were even in separate houses and contained living space in addition to bedrooms.
While in Indiana, the team was able to appreciate the gorgeous architecture and have some team bonding out on the town. Some of our senior debaters got to see some of the URDU’s alumni and hang out while they were in Indiana, as well.
Although none of our teams broke or earned speaker awards, May Zhee was named a CEDA All-American Scholar (Summa Cum Laude). The team is incredibly proud of her. Several of the partnerships showed a lot of improvement, as well, including one of our debaters who worked with a swing partner.
In short, the weekend was a fun way to get some serious policy experience. The URDU’s policy squad will be able to apply the lessons from the weekend going forward.
This past week, the URDU sent 2 partnerships and 1 coach to the Vienna IV in Vienna, Austria. The tournament was our first oveseas tournament in more than 3 years. The teams got to experience high-caliber international competition, as well as have fun exploring the city of Vienna. Highlights included a schnitzel and beer social at the tournament, riding the oldest Ferris Wheel still operating, walking the Danube, and exploring Vienna’s old cathedrals and palaces.
On the first day, everybody conquered their jetlag to explore some museums and St. Stephen’s Cathedral, as well as power-napping.
Fighting jetlag and exhaustion from a busy morning, the team grabbed lunch and crashed for some power naps.
After a revitalizing power nap, the team headed out to explore St. Stephen’s cathedral and wander the shops nearby.
The next morning, the first rounds of the tournament began. The motions were diverse, ranging from local topics such as a particular neighborhood in Viena which is heavily populated by immigrants to the possibility of Russia annexing Crimea.
On campus, the team saw some funny signs of American culture. We even saw a sign for Kodak – a little piece of home in Vienna.
On Sunday and Monday, the team watched the final round of the tournament and explored the city some more.
All in all, the tournament was a great learning experience and a whole lot of fun.
Several members of the URDU took a break from midterm season and hit the road to head to Danbury, Connecticut this past weekend for the Northeastern Universities Regionals Debating Championships at Western Connecticut State University. Everyone had lots of fun and the team brought home awards, including winning the entire novice division. We also managed to luck out with the weather and were able to bask in sunshine and warm temperatures for the entirety of the weekend.
Outside of the tournament itself, funny moments ranged from Miriam being startled by the overly aggressive, hissing geese to Junior attempting to study calculus by bus light on the trip home.
At the tournament itself, the URDU had several teams do well throughout the tournament. On Sunday, we found out that two partnerships broke in the novice Worlds division, one of which won the entire novice division.
URDU’s partnership of Junior and Sarah broke to novice semifinals in the Worlds division.
URDU’s partnership of Chris and Miriam broke to novice semifinals as the 8th seed and went on to win the entire novice division of the tournament.
In short, NEUDC 2014 was a great way to close out the 2013-2014 regional debate circuit as the URDU prepares to head to other tournaments such as USU, CEDA, and the Vienna Open.