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Q&A: Speech and Debate Club vice president explains debate competitions, meetings

Junior vice president Nellie Zhang explains debate club and what goes on in a typical meeting

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Q&A: Speech and Debate Club vice president explains debate competitions, meetings

The Speech and Debate Club's junior vice president Nellie Zhang [far right] shares what goes on in club meetings.

The Speech and Debate Club's junior vice president Nellie Zhang [far right] shares what goes on in club meetings.

Submitted Nellie Zhang

The Speech and Debate Club's junior vice president Nellie Zhang [far right] shares what goes on in club meetings.

Submitted Nellie Zhang

Submitted Nellie Zhang

The Speech and Debate Club's junior vice president Nellie Zhang [far right] shares what goes on in club meetings.

Joey McEvoy, Staff Writer

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What do you think of your experience in the Speech and Debate Club?

“I have been in [this club] since my sophomore year… and I think it’s really fun. The tournaments are stressful, but rewarding. Many people say they don’t want to join because they don’t like public speaking or they are not good at it, but I think that’s an invalid excuse because [the club] is about learning how to craft arguments and speaking which you will eventually have to learn.”

What goes on in a typical Speech and Debate Club meeting?

“We always do some speech games. Our most renowned game is the ‘Um’ game where you see how long you can talk without saying fill words like ‘um’ and ‘uh,’ In the beginning of the month we have topic lectures, so that’s basically where…you get a new topic and someone gives a presentation of the major points of each side. We also do research when we are getting ready for a debate meeting or tournament.

What are the competitions like and how has that been so far?

“So far as a club we have two [competitions] in March. [Senior president] Advait Dhamdhere wants to go to nationals. Sophomore Joe Zhang and junior Chris Wang are working really hard.”

What does the club debate about?

“Our type of debate is called public forum. It talks a lot about the issues going on currently. My first debate tournament was about school searches and whether or not schools have the right to search your backpack and stuff like that. It’s really interesting because there are two very polar sides but they still both make a lot of sense. In November… we talked about gun control. Another interesting thing about public forum is that you are not allowed to talk policy, so you can talk [about] the sides of topics but you can’t propose policies.”

How does one become a part of this club

“My friend, Erica [Lu], who graduated, originally started the club and I was interested in speech and debate so I just hopped in and joined. There is nothing you have to do. We do have this joke initiation where everyone who enters has to do the ‘um’ game. Otherwise we just want everyone [to join]. Whether or not someone has public speaking experience or like to public speak they should join because it is fun.”

What is the most fun part of this club?

“Talking to everyone and listening to people improve their debate and speaking skills is is the most fun part.”

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Q&A: Speech and Debate Club vice president explains debate competitions, meetings