Facing a competitive field of 32 collegiate debate teams, members of the HWS Debate Team had a strong showing this November at the Father Roger Guindon Cup 2014 debate tournament. Held on behalf of the English Debating Society at University of Ottawa, the Guindon Cup is unique because it is an open tournament, meaning anyone can compete.
At the tournament, HWS Debate Team assistant coach Steven Penner landed overall top individual speaker and Danny Schonning ’16 took second place speaker. In addition to Schonning and Penner, first-year students Emma Herbst ’18 and Haley Giunta ’18 also competed.
“I enjoy debate as both an intellectual exercise and a competitive practice,” Schonning says. “Tournaments are a fun opportunity to think with flexibility under pressure, and explore perspectives that I otherwise wouldn’t have to defend in competition with students looking for the same.”
After winning in five preliminary events, the HWS team with Schonning and Penner finished first in the preliminaries with a perfect 15 points. After besting the second place team by an impressive four points, HWS also advanced to the finals, but fell to Carleton University.
Among the debated topics at the tournament were: celebrity voices in the Feminist Movement, the U.S. offering military aid to the Nigerian Government and preferences for certain trade alliances. The topics – or statements – are given to debaters 15 minutes before the round and then presented in a seven-minute speech.
In addition to competitions such as the Guindon Cup, the 2014-2015 debate season will culminate with the 2015 World Universities Debating Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. HWS Debate has selected two team members to attend: Schonning and Taylor Murray ’17. Penner will accompany the two students as judge. He is an internationally respected judge and debate coach.
Earlier this season, the HWS Debate Team hosted the North American Universities Debate Championship drawing more than 300 participants and attendees to campus. In the spring, 16 of the world’s best debate teams will compete at HWS in the annual Round Robin Invitational. As the host of the Round Robin, members of the HWS Debate Team will not be among the competing teams.
Those interested in learning more about debate can attend weekly meetings/practices on Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. in Demarest Hall 014.
The photo above features members of the HWS Debate Team and assistant coach Steven Penner (left) at practice in the Blackwell Room.