Speech and Debate event at WWU


As an educational facility, Bellevue College offers a wide range of resources for a student’s convenience. Speech and Debate Society allows students to learn debate techniques and how to properly  and successfully give a speech that would leave an impact on their audience. The end of last month, the club took a weekend visit to Bellingham for 2013 Speech and Debate Tournament hosted at Western Washington University.

Schools from all over the West Coast came to compete including as close as University of Washington, reaching as far east as Carroll College in Montana and Northwest College in Wyoming, as far south as University of Oregon in Eugene, and extending as far north as Clark College in Vancouver. “It was a really fun event,” said Christopher Robertson, an active member of the Debate Society who was a part of the tournament. “I learned a lot about debate technique and about national and world events.” He explained that, “BC’s debate team is definitely where I feel most at-home” compared to other clubs on campus.

Debate topics varied amongst styles of debate: The National Parliamentary Debate Association usually gets involved in politics and overall current event topics, whereas British Parliamentary debate dives into topics that are more value-based that begin with the house’s opposition or affirmation.

NPDA is an audience-centered form of two-person debate with one pair as opposition and another pair competing against them. IPDA stands for International Public Debate Assocuation and similar to NPDA, it primarily utilizes a one-on-one debate format in which one debater takes the affirmative side and another debater takes the side of the dissenter refutes. In BP style, debaters and the audience wore wiges “There are quirky little things that we [debaters] have to do,” said Sierra Seiver, a BC student on loan as a hybrid to University of Washington in Bothell.

“One of them is this thing we do where when we have something to say, we raise our hands and put our other hand behind our head. It’s called, ‘holding your wig’.” She mentioned how funny it is to see a bunch of people in one room, holding that position as one by one they mentioned their arguments.

Debate Society  is an academic place to stay connected with the society around them and provides opportunities to compete against many others outside their spectrum of students. Denise Vaughan is advisor of the club as well as one of several coaches who aid debaters.

They teach helpful techniques in proper and successful debates and speeches. “We have a division in UW Bothell that Vaughan also looks after. But we’re all like a close family; the debaters at UW Bothell are like step-siblings to us at BC,” Seiver laughed. Pratishtha Chhabra is president of the club, in charge of organizing meetings along with participating in debates. Last tournament, she was awarded a Junior Impromptu Award in which she gave an impromptu  speech given to competitors where emphasis is usually given on humor as well as logic and performance.

All students are welcome to join Speech and Debate Society. Denise is available for contact via her email address: dvaughan@bellevuecollege.edu, and her office phone (425) 564-4188.