BY KELI KOLVIN
Oprah Winfrey, Weird Al Yankovic and Rush Limbaugh— when grouped collectively these names do not seem to be ones that would coordinate on the same page. However, these famous opinion leaders and entertainers all share one common thread: they were all on a debate team.
Fresh off of a successful season this past school year, the Arkansas Tech Debate Team is gearing up for what it hopes will be another notable season. The team will be competing in three tournaments this semester and have been hard at work preparing members with the skills it needs heading in to the new season.
Dr. Gabriel Adkins, assistant professor of communication and debate and forensics director, is hoping for a successful semester with their three tournament schedule.
“We’re expecting good things,” Adkins said. “In debate, it’s not like a football game, where there’s a winner and a loser. There are so many different aspects that are recognized.”
The team will travel to Monticello on Friday for their first tournament of the semester and will be flexing their argumentative muscle all weekend long.
“We usually start about 8 in the morning and sometimes go until midnight. We work hard, but we have fun,” Adkins said.
According to Adkins, the past three or four years have seen more activity as far as interest in the debate team. Within the department of communications, the emphasis on the importance of debate and forensics has been a priority.
“We are where we want to be right now, but that does not mean that is where we intend to stay,” Adkins said.
The debate team is open to all Tech students and is also welcoming to those who wish to be judges. Aside from the learning to communicate more effectively, there are also many resume building benefits.
Being a member of the debate team allows for numerous networking opportunities along with membership into a National Honor Society for Debate and Forensics, Pi Kappa Delta.
“In my opinion, debaters tend to be, academically speaking, the crème de la crème. They tend to be stand out folks — future leaders. This tends to be something that bridges well into graduate schools, public service, careers in sales and marketing. Anyone wanting to become a leader, which is ultimately what college is about,” Adkins said.
The debate team will be traveling to John Brown University in Siloam Springs Oct. 24. The last tournament will take place at Louisiana State Univeristy in Shreveport, La., on Nov. 7.
All events are open to students.