Award-Wining Debate Team to Host Interest Meetings in August

Interested in learning how to eloquently make a point during a debate? Join the UT chapter of the Tennessee Speech and Debate Society (TSDS) this fall and learn how to become a better communicator. Members of this award-winning team will host interest meetings for prospective student members during the first full week of school.

The team is not exclusive to students who like to argue or want to go to law school. TSDS comprises students from majors across the board—from English to business to computer science. It is student run and the only competitive speech and debate team on campus. To date, the team has taken home five national championships.

“Joining the team doesn’t just make you a better debater, it makes you a better person,” says Andrew Chapman, a third-year animal science major.

Members of the TSDS travel around the country competing. Students receive a topic and a side to argue and have 30 minutes to prepare an argument before presenting it in front of a judge.

The fast-paced style of debate forces students to take a lot of information and narrow it down to a few key arguments in a short amount of time. Students learn about public speaking, argumentation, critical thinking, and research analysis—all important skills for any career.

“Debate has taught me lessons and skills in communication that have been immensely valuable to me,” says Symantha Gregorash, upcoming sophomore and TSDS secretary. “Even my current employer cites my background in speech as an aspect of my hiring.”

The team not only helps its members become better communicators through competition but also hosts public forum events on campus. At these events, members prepare arguments for either side of a current hot topic and invite others in the UT community to join in the conversation.

If you have questions or want more information about the team and interest meetings, email utkdebateteam@gmail.com.