Debate team finds success in competition, communication

With individuals facing controversial issues around the globe each day, the skill of debate is one that is greatly sought after. It is also a skill that the University of Miami debate team has mastered.

The team has won four tournaments in policy debate, which has helped it climb the rankings to No. 1 in the country. The team has found success in both world debate and parliamentary debate.

David Steinberg, who serves as the director of debate, and Anna Shah, sophomore team member, attribute the success to the team culture.

“It has been so inspiring to be on such a supportive team that works hard to make sure other team members succeed,” Shah said.

Steinberg described the group as having “an unselfish team culture where everyone supports and helps each other, works together and learns from each other.” He also praised Patrick Waldinger, assistant director of debate, for the work in helping the team reach its top ranking.

Although the team is open to all undergraduates and offers no tryouts, there are several demands and specific characteristics for those who wish to join the team.

“A great debater should be smart, logical, quick on their feet and adept at communicating their arguments,” Shah said.

Steinberg added that the most important characteristic he looks for in team members is “work ethic.”

“Successful debate is work, so it takes discipline, dedication and an attitude that hates to lose,” he said.

Both Shah and Steinberg indicated that the benefits of debate extend well into the future, even after members are done competing.

Shah, who dreams of becoming a doctor one day, said debate will certainly give her an edge in the medical field by giving her the skills to effectively communicate with her patients.

Steinberg believes that there is no other activity that can benefit students in so many different facets of life.

“Debate makes you a better student, professional, friend and family member … It’s a game which benefits the players,” he said.

The team’s goals for the rest of the season include winning the Front Royal Cup in novice debate and advancing in the United States Universities National Tournament.


Featured image courtesy Colorado Senate GOP of Flickr

February 19, 2015


Cody Brown

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published in print every Tuesday.