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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Debaters suade way to nationals

 
 

One team that wont earn airtime on ESPN as it competes for a national title this month: the Texas A&M Speech and Debate Team.
Despite a relative lack of funding and competing without a coach, the team has persuaded its way to West Virginia to compete in the National Forensic Association speech and debate tournament in April.
We are very proud to say that we have six people who qualified for Nationals, and three of those six qualified in three events, said Zoe Christiansen, team member and junior business management major. We have worked really hard this year, and our success shows. We boast two state champions and a second place sweepstakes at a tournament.
With the amount of travel the team does, Christiansen said debate has been a vehicle of promotion for the University.
Qualifying to nationals is a positive thing because it brings Texas A&M the recognition it needs in the speech community as well as on campus, Christiansen said. Having achieved the success we did this year, despite the disadvantages of not having an established program with a director or coach and inadequate funding, it really speaks volumes of how hard we’ve worked.
Compared to other Texas universities, A&Ms debate team has received relatively little support from its administration, said freshman team member Ashe Matocha, Blinn Team business major and contributor to The Battalion.
Schools like the University of Texas and Texas State have great debate teams because of the large support they receive from the administration, said Matocha. They have twice the national qualifications and larger teams that consistently do better than A&M because of the support they receive. We are a great team, but we could be even better if we were able to have that support.
This lack of funding has had implications that go beyond the debate teams success, Christiansen said.
Yeah, football is important, Christiansen said. Having a new stadium would be great. But as someone who is trying to run an organization that receives so little funding or even attention from the school, it’s hard for me to get excited about giving money to anything else.
Christiansen said this lack of support is unfair.
As a top university in the U.S., I think it’s important that A&M puts all of its student organizations first, Christiansen said. Sports are huge, Greek life is fun, but I can guarantee you that organizations like speech and debate are the ones that will create success within individuals.
Christiansen said more financial backing would allow the team to reach out to more students, thus having a larger impact on campus. It would also attract more potential students from across the country, something beneficial for both the team and Texas A&M, he said.
Christiansen said the team has started to gain recognition within the speech and debate community.
Now it’s time to gain that ground here in College Station, and the [A&M] administration needs to be aware of the beneficial relationship we want to form with them, he said. We would love to sit down and talk more with any faculty member who shows an interest.
Because of debate, team members said they have made progress in presentation and communication abilities.
Debate is important to college students because it allows us to learn how to communicate effectively with others, said Dominic Odom, senior business administration major and debate team president. I can now form arguments very quickly and coherently.
Debate also keeps student informed and connected, Matocha said.
Debate has helped me be more knowledgeable on real-life events and keep up with what’s going on in the world, Matocha said. It has also allowed me to be a quicker thinker and take creative approaches to different things.

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