Established in 1850, the University of Rochester Debate Union (URDU) is an intercollegiate club that supports two varieties of debate: Policy Debate and British Parliamentary, or Worlds, Debate. We compete at CEDA, ADA, NDT, and Worlds Parliamentary debate sanctioned debate tournaments regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Unlike many similar programs throughout the nation, our squad focuses on bringing new people into the activity. No previous experience is needed — all you need is to walk in the office door with the desire to learn how to argue and win. Our coaches and varsity members help novices ranging from those who have never given a speech in their life to those who want to transition to intercollegiate debate from the high school format.
Debaters gain the opportunity to travel with the team to other college campuses such as Cornell University, New York University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Harvard University, United States Military Academy at West Point, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Vermont, Binghamton University, and Northwestern — as well as travel across the world, from Canada to Europe to Latin America.
We engage in competitive discussion of topics as far ranging from the current geopolitical climate, domestic political reactions, the philosophical undertones of policy-making, individual and group rights, and the scientific basis upon which decisions are evaluated.