Students from various majors hone their argumentative skills
With winter break fast approaching and students preparing for finals, Humboldt State University’s debate team is pushing through with consistent practice sessions and preparing for scheduled competitions that start as soon as the spring semester begins.
Responding to a topic may seem like an easy task, but compiling synchronized responses with a teammate can be overwhelming, especially when the goal is to not contradict each others’ claims.
Kimberley Nguyen, a philosophy major, is in her third semester with the debate team. She stresses over the challenging lack of preparation time before debates.
“Public speaking on its own is a difficult task,” Nguyen said. “Try publicly speaking about controversial issues, not knowing whether or not you will be speaking for or against your own values until 15 minutes before you have to do so.”
HSU’s debate team is currently practicing the British parliamentary debate method as they prepare for spring. This consists of team members pairing up, debating sides and creating counter arguments.
During one of their practice sessions, assistant coach Olivia Gainer presented the teams with the topic. The topic surrounded the opening monologue of “All the World’s a Stage” from William Shakespeare’s play, “As You Like It.” The four teams proceeded to exit the room to prepare and come back later with their responses.
“The team dynamic is definitely important and affects the way each round goes, it helps balance arguments off each other,” Gainer said. “Right now I’m looking at how well the team dynamic is and will give my input on their performance.”
Research and compiling a strong argument is a must. With evenings being the only time frame to practice their tactics, the debate team optimizes their time wisely to alleviate obstacles in later competitions.
HSU’s debate team is open to all and brands itself as a competitive sport. Exercising one’s mind to develop well constructed argument is as crucial as athletes utilizing their plays to put points on the scoreboard.