National Debating Championships come to UVM

On April 3-5, UVM hosted the US Universities Debating Championships, an annual tournament bringing in participants from all over the United States and the world.Forty UVM debaters competed against roughly 150 two-person teams, including the reigning Asian champions from the National Law School of India.The Lawrence Debate Union, UVM’s team, has a long history of debating and its members have traveled to compete in competitions all around the world.Founded in 1899, the Union is an endowed club whose main goal is “personal growth and development of the people on the squad,” the team’s coach, Alfred Snider, said.According to Snider, to prepare for debate discussion, students participating are encouraged to watch for trends in world events and keep up with world events.The team, ranked third in the nation, meets throughout the week and trains for tournaments with drills and preparatory notes for various controversial topics. They prepare roughly 300 topics a year.At the National Debates, student teams are presented with a topic 15 minutes before they are scheduled to debate it. Debate consists of two formats: policy debate, the typical American-style form of debate, and world debate. This is only the second year the UVM debate team participated in the world debate format, Snider said.”We’re probably the leading undiscovered jewel at the University of Vermont. We represent the university with distinction and acclaim throughout the world, and then come home and just go about our business,” he said.Sophomore Sarah Anders, a member of the debate team and a participant in the tournament said before the debates that she was excited for the event to come to UVM.”I think that the National Debates will be incredibly fun because there will be teams from all over the world competing,” she said. “We have spent a lot of time and effort into the logistics of this tournament, so hopefully it will go smoothly and be really fun.”