Both debate squads were out in force for the season opener at the University of Rochester in September. Varsity Policy debaters Gabby Knight and David Rooney as well as Novice Policy debaters Basia Van Buren and Joshua Mensah won their respective divisions, while Worlds faced off against two Vermont teams in the Open Final - losing narrowly to UVM. Worlds Novices also made into the Novice Final - with Brendon Horigan and Elizabeth Freeman taking home to the win.
Cornell's Speech & Debate Society, led by ILR Senior Lecturer Sam Nelson and assistant Lindsay Bing, traveled to Johannesburg, South Africa May 20 to facilitate a debate and leadership workshop at the Midrand Graduate Institute. MGI is a private higher education center offering bachelor's degrees and professional training to students from across the continent. In partnership with Pearson, the Speech & Debate Society sent eight undergraduates to help teach the fundamentals of debate, establish a debate society, and develop peer to peer relationships with the students.
The ten day program began by introducing nearly 75 students to debate for the very first time, and concluded with a three-round tournament amongst the students. In addition to MGI students, 25 post-graduates from the University of Witwatersrand attended for a debate-centered Leadership and Communication workshop with Sam and Lindsay.
"The transformation was incredible," said Rubin Danberg-Biggs, A&S '18. "Most of the students had never seen a debate before, but by the end of the program they were speaking like they'd done it for years."
Two MGI students, Leonard Muyambo and Palesa Mojapelo, won the Pearson-Cornell Camp Fellowship Award. Leo and Palesa will travel to Ithaca in August to act as teaching assistants for the Cornell International Summer Debate Camp.
Students leading the program were Alex Klein, Rebecca Blair, Ankur Biswas, Samir Salih, Lauren Kelly, Catherine Yu and Emma Rose Wirshing.