USU 2014: Purdue

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.

The CA team for USU 2014 projected a twitter beam onto the wall of the GA auditorium each day for the hashtag "#usu14."

The CA team for USU 2014 projected a twitter beam onto the wall of the GA auditorium each day for the hashtag “#usu14.”

The team waits in the crowded GA auditorium between rounds on the second day.

The team waits in the crowded GA auditorium between rounds on the second day.

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.

Reefat and Junior arm-wrestle for eternal glory amongst the members of the URDU.

Reefat and Junior arm-wrestle for eternal glory amongst the members of the URDU as the rest of the team watches intently.

The team does homework and hangs out at the hotel before rounds on the first day.

The team does homework and hangs out at the hotel before rounds on the first day.

Nina and Reefat pose with some dalmatian statues they found in the lobby of the tournament hotel.

Nina and Reefat pose with some dalmatian statues they found in the lobby of the tournament hotel.

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!

The whole group poses after the last day of rounds.

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Colgate IV 2014

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.

A shot of the Colgate campus

A shot of the Colgate campus during fair weather

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.”

Teams wait in the general assembly room while a motion is released.

Teams wait in the general assembly room for a motion to be released.

In between rounds, the team was able to hang out, take some photos, and unwind by exploring Hamilton.

The team was able to get some good photos of the beautiful building interiors at Colgate.

The team was able to get some good photos of the beautiful building interiors at Colgate.

A shot of the campus center, where some of the rounds were held.

A shot of the campus center, where some of the rounds were held.

The team captured some photographic evidence of the fact that there was still snow on the ground at the end of March.

The team captured some photographic evidence of the fact that there was still snow on the ground at the end of March.

Some members of the team get caught in a candid photo walking between rounds.

The team took some candid photos walking between rounds.

All in all, the tournament was well-run and an excellent learning experience for the URDU’s Worlds squad.

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CEDA 2014

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.

An aerial shot of the Indiana University campus

An aerial shot of the Indiana University campus

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.

Nina and May Zhee pose in front of the team's hotel.

Nina and May Zhee pose in front of the team’s hotel.

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.

The team appreciates some of the beautiful architecture and interior decoration at Purdue.

The team appreciates some of the beautiful architecture and interior decoration on campus.

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.

May-Zhee poses with her plaque for being named a CEDA All-American Scholar, Summa Cum Laude.

May-Zhee poses with her plaque for being named a CEDA All-American Scholar, Summa Cum Laude.

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.

The whole team poses for posterity.

The whole team poses for posterity.

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Vienna IV 2014

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.

Vienna 61 Vienna 60

The team visited a museum of imperial treasures and weapons on the first day.

The team visited a museum of imperial treasures and weapons on the first day.

Reefat and Miriam pose in the museum.

Reefat and Miriam pose in the museum.

Miriam and Chris pose in front of 1 of the many statues throughout the city.

Miriam and Chris pose in front of 1 of the many statues throughout the city.

Nina and Reefat pose in front of 1 of the particularly impressive museum buildings.

Nina and Reefat pose in front of 1 of the particularly impressive museum buildings.

Fighting jetlag and exhaustion from a busy morning, the team grabbed lunch and crashed for some power naps.

Chris, Miriam, and Nina chat during lunch on the first day.

Chris, Miriam, and Nina chat during lunch on the first day.

After a revitalizing power nap, the team headed out to explore St. Stephen’s cathedral and wander the shops nearby.

Vienna 58 Vienna 13

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.

The team waits for the first day of rounds to start in the crowded general assembly auditorium.

The team waits for the first day of rounds to start in the crowded general assembly auditorium.

One of the members of the CA team convenes the opening ceremony.

One of the members of the CA team convenes the opening ceremony.

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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.

The whole team found the sign advertising a "Miami College Party" pretty funny.

The whole team found the sign advertising a “Miami College Party” pretty funny.

On Sunday and Monday, the team watched the final round of the tournament and explored the city some more.

The final round took place on the campus of Vienna University.

The final round took place on the campus of Vienna University.

Nina, Miriam, Reefat, and Chris pose in front Schonbrunn Palace.

Nina, Miriam, Reefat, and Chris pose in front Schonbrunn Palace.

Reefat, Coach Alex Martel, Nina, Chris, and Miriam pose on the grounds of Vienna University after the final round.

Reefat, Coach Alex Martel, Nina, Chris, and Miriam pose on the grounds of Vienna University after the final round.

Chris and Nina strike poses next to the dinosaur-themed ride at a theme park.

Chris and Nina strike poses next to the dinosaur-themed ride at the theme park housing the old Ferris Wheel.

 

Alex imitates the "half-egg, half-dinosaur/chicken" next to the dinosaur ride.

Alex imitates the “half-egg, half-dinosaur/chicken” next to the dinosaur ride.

The team watched the sunset on the Danube.

The team watched the sunset on the Danube.

Chris and Miriam stop on a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Danube.

Chris and Miriam stop on a pedestrian bridge overlooking the Danube.

From the top of the oldest Ferris Wheel still functioning, the team got a spectacular view of the city.

From the top of the oldest Ferris Wheel still functioning, the team got a spectacular view of the city.

All in all, the tournament was a great learning experience and a whole lot of fun.

 

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NEUDC Regionals 2014 – Western Connecticut State University

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.

Sun shines on the West Conn quad.

Sun shines on the West Conn quad.

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.

The omnipresent geese look deceptively unaggressive as they hunt for food.

The omnipresent geese look deceptively unaggressive as they hunt for food.

Some members of the team make faces as they pick up Chinese food takeout for dinner.

Some members of the team make faces as they pick up Chinese food takeout for dinner.

The team eats lunch on Sunday between novice semifinals and novice finals (for the Worlds division).

The team eats lunch on Sunday between novice semifinals and novice finals (for the Worlds division).

Ken: "Are you studying by bus light?" Junior: "Yes! I have a calculus exam in the morning!"

Ken: “Are you studying by bus light?”
Junior: “Yes! I have a calculus exam in the morning!”

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.

The team waits in the packed general assembly auditorium between rounds.

The team waits in the packed general assembly auditorium between rounds.

URDU’s partnership of Junior and Sarah broke to novice semifinals in the Worlds division.

Junior and Sarah 1

Junion and Sarah pose after elimination rounds.

Junion and Sarah pose after elimination rounds.

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.

Chris and Miriam pose after the final round.

Chris and Miriam pose after the final round.

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.

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Novice Nationals 2014

This past weekend, the URDU braved extraordinarily snowy roads and traveled down the road to Ithaca. The team traveled in force, packing 39 debaters and a cadre of judges & coaches onto a New York Trailways bus for the trip, and brought home some awards.

Some early arrivals wait on the bus before departure.

Some early arrivals wait on the bus before departure.

The team responded to URDU publicity manager Miriam’s request to take photos over the weekend by taking many blurry photos of Miriam making the announcement.

Gordie makes bunny ears as Miriam makes an announcement prior to departure.

Gordie makes bunny ears as Miriam makes an announcement prior to departure.

When the team arrived in Ithaca, everyone enjoyed themselves in spite of the cold and long hours of work. There were so many students that the URDU occupied an entire building of rooms at the Best Western hotel.

Icicles hang off the roof of the Best Western.

Icicles hang off the roof of the team’s hotel.

Some of the team poses while eating Chinese food for dinner.

Some of the team poses while eating Chinese food for dinner.

At the tournament itself, everybody had some phenomenal debates and great learning experiences. This was especially true for many of our newest debaters, for whom Novice Nationals was their first tournament.

David and Abdul sit in the full auditorium waiting for the first motion to be announced.

David and Abdul wait in the full auditorium for the first motion to be announced.

Bobby, Zack, and Sarah talk animatedly.

Bobby, Zack, and Sarah talk animatedly between rounds.

Reefat and Catherine pose together.

Reefat and Catherine pose together.

Jaleed, Reefat, Tanveer, and Yuki pose in their formalware.

Jaleed, Reefat, Tanveer, and Yuki pose in their formalware.

Nina and Reefat pose in their matching outfits on the second day. The partnership color-coordinated ther outfits both days.

Nina and Reefat pose in their matching outfits on the second day. The partnership color-coordinated ther outfits both days.

On Sunday, we found out that several of our teams won awards. Emoni got 10th-best speaker in JV Policy. On the Worlds side, Junior and Hiten cleared to novice quarterfinals as the 15th seed. Chris and Miriam also broke to novice quarterfinals as the 10th seed and advanced to semifinals.

The screen displays the break announcement for novice quarterfinals.

The screen displays the break announcement for novice quarterfinals.

Hiten delivers a speech during novice quarterfinals.

Hiten delivers a speech during novice quarterfinals.

Junior delivers a speech during novice quarterfinals.

Junior delivers a speech during novice quarterfinals.

Miriam delivers a speech during elimination rounds.

Miriam delivers a speech during elimination rounds.

Junior and Hiten pose with their quarterfinalists' award.

Junior and Hiten pose with their quarterfinalists’ award.

Chris and Miriam pose with their semifinalists' award.

Miriam and Chris pose with their semifinalists’ award.

In short, the Novice Nationals 2014 was an all-around great experience which provided a very positive means of welcoming some new faces to the URDU community and furnished some of our more experienced debaters with a high-caliber tournament in which they could compete. Stay tuned as we gear up for Regionals at Western Connecticut in a few weeks!

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Rutgers Debate Invitational 2014

The URDU sent two policy partnerships – one in the novice division and one in the open division – down to the Rutgers Invitational this past weekend. In spite of the early morning departure time and snowy roads, the team arrived safe & sound and had a partnership which broke & took home some speaker awards. All in all, the tournament was an absolute blast and a phenomenal learning opportunity, especially for our novice partnership of Nina and Miriam, both of whom normally debate in the worlds format. Outside of rounds, highlights included team dinner out and the consumption of some delicious Italian food for lunch on the first day.

The whole group poses during team dinner at Joe's Crab Shack.

The group poses during team dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack.

After losing their first round, our novice partnership of Nina and Miriam went on to win their other five preliminary rounds  and broke to novice semifinals as the third seed. Although they dropped from semifinals on a 2-1 decision, the round was a fun, fast-paced debate.

The team amuses themselves while waiting for the announcement of pairings for the fifth round of preliminaries.

The team waits for the announcement of pairings for the fifth round of preliminaries.

Nina and Miriam debate USMA in round 5 of preliminaries.

Nina and Miriam debate USMA in round 5 of preliminaries.

May Zhee and Richard prepare argumnts during their fifth round.

May Zhee and Richard prepare arguments during their fifth round of preliminaries.

At the awards ceremony, the team found out that Nina was awarded 6th-best novice speaker and Miriam was awarded 7th-best novice speaker.

Nina and Miriam pose with their speaker awards.

Nina and Miriam pose with their speaker awards.

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