Louisiana Tech Debate Team selected for prestigious national competition

Dec 18, 2013 | Liberal Arts






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The Louisiana Tech University Debate Team has been invited to participate as one of four teams competing in the Westminster Debates, January 10 as a part of the Southern Political Science Association’s (SPSA) national conference in New Orleans.

To be invited to compete in the debate event, which is sponsored by the Policy Studies Organization (PSO) and the SPSA, is to be considered one of the top debate programs in the nation.

“While this event is not a traditional debate tournament, it allows a spotlight to be cast on the quality and strength of Louisiana Tech debate program,” said Shane Puckett, instructor and director of Louisiana Tech’s debate program.  “This team has accomplished so much over the past few years.  The strength of Louisiana Tech’s students, from their critical thinking skills to their interpersonal skills, makes them very well-rounded as competitors.”

Hannah Schilling, a senior Journalism major, says that being chosen as one of the four teams showcasing at the Westminster Debates is an honor.  “It’s a debater’s goal to be good enough to get invited to do events like this one,” says Schilling.  “I’m glad, as a team, we are continuing to improve and people are noticing. This university and debate team goes to great lengths to foster the growth of its talent and I’m proud to be representing Tech and spreading our name and our love for debate through this showcase.”

The topic of the Westminster Debate will be “American Higher Education Ill-Prepares Students for Work.”  This is a highly discussed topic has surrounded itself with controversy through the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement as well as the recent decline in university enrollment nationwide.  As the debate evolves, arguments over utility and philosophy will emerge.

Walker Holmes, a sophomore speech communication major, says that it’s satisfying to be singled out in a large world of such amazing talent.  “This is something that we practice and work to earn as a team,” explains Holmes.  “It’s almost enough to be invited to watch, but to be invited to compete and represent the debate community means so much more to what we have done as an organization.”

While only in the middle of its debate season, the Louisiana Tech team has done very well at such tournaments as the North American Universities Debate Championships (NAUDC) and the Canadian Debate Championships (CDC).  In the NAUDC, Louisiana Tech’s debate team bested many Ivy League schools, while at the CDC, Tech’s team competed as the highest ranking U.S. team in the tournament.

“From a student’s perspective, I feel honored,” said Hannah Vincent, a junior agriculture education major.  “To be seen as someone who has the ability to change the public’s perspective on policy and on debate, is a very flattering notion.  Also to be a part of a team that is celebrated for its ability to work together towards the goal of informing the public is gratifying.”
Written by Shane Puckett –