Frequently asked questions

Why should I join Debate?

Participation in intercollegiate debate is an incredible opportunity for students at WWU. Regardless of your major or level of previous experience, Western Debate has the capacity to transform your life! There are three major benefits to debating in college. First, it trains students in argumentation and research. Students learn how to assemble information into arguments and test the reasoning and soundness of those arguments. Second, students are empowered as advocates for social and political change. Debating develops confidence and competence in communicating ideas to a diversity of audiences, as well as defending those ideas under scrutiny. Finally, participation in college debate connects students to a vibrant community of peers and colleagues who are committed to the power of debate. That community extends across the region and even the globe!

Do I need prior debate experience to join the team?

The Western Debate Union is composed of students with a range of experiences and interests. Some students join the team with significant experience from high school speech and debate, but the vast majority of students who join the program have no previous experience. Training in debate can transform your life no matter when you start and our organization is committed to helping all students reap the benefits of debate.

Can I manage debate with my classes and other activities?

The Western Debate Union believes that debate is only one part of every student's life. Participation on the team involves a weekly meeting and practice session where members and coaches go over development of arguments and provide closer instruction on topics and concepts prior to competitions. Competitions occur on the weekends and a student can expect to compete 3-4 times per quarter. In addition to competitions, the team is also active in hosting public and campus events each quarter.

How can I join the team?

It's easy! Use this link to Contact Us and send us a message, then we'll send you everything you need to know to get started with the program!

What does it cost to join?

There are no dues or fees and the program is committed to eliminating financial barriers to participation. Western Debate is supported as a Departmentally Related Student Activity which provides support and resources for travel to competitions and necessary supplies.

What type of debate is offered?

The Western Debate Union is active in two forms of evidence based debate. First, we participate in "Pacific Northwest Debate", a format founded by group of debate programs in the region. It features two topics per school year and an article packet that is constructed by participants for each topic. This format is outlined in detail on our website. Second, we participate in intercollegiate policy debate (often known as CEDA or NDT debate). This format of debate features a single year-long topic and stresses extensive research and technical argumentation. If you are not sure which is a good fit for you, consult our coaches!