On September 12th 2013 member of the Rollins Debate Team (Chassidy Cook, Zohaib Jessani, and David Gevorgyan) Traveled to Beijing China to participate in a series of friendly debates and cultural events with students from Beijing Foreign Studies University. The Rollins Debate Team Captain, Chassidy Cook, described the trip as “Simply Amazing!” “There were so many cultural immersion experiences and we learned a great deal about the Chinese culture as we explored the cities.” The trip began with a visit to Xian, China. Xian is well-known for its rich culture, exemplified in the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Jianfu Temple, and the Xian Museum all of which recounts the life of Buddha and serves as a place of worship for contemporary Buddhists. “The most fascinating culture exhibit was the Terra Cotta Warriors.” In order to protect the emperor in his afterlife, Chinese craftsmen and laborers erected 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses that are believed to surround the emperor’s tomb. “Wei Lao Shi (Professor Li Wei’s Chinese professorial title) led us through the three pits that house the life-size warriors and cavalry horses.” In Beijing, the debate team visited Great Wall of China, Beijing National Stadium, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.
The opening debate took place on the campus of Beijing Foreign Studies University. As is our custom, the debate began with a lecture from a professor from the visiting team. Dr. Smaw lectured on the American Dream and the Chinese Dream. It was just after the lecture that we learned Dr. Smaw’s Chinese name and the origins of it. In Chinese, students use the phrase “Lao Shi” after a teacher’s last name to mean professor. “To truly capture Dr. Smaw’s stylish manner of dress, the students added a bit of a twist to his name dubbing him “Shi Mao Lao Shi” meaning professor of fashion. I think the title is quite fitting and I’m pretty sure that Dr. Smaw enjoys it as well.” The topic of the debate was: The government has the right to censor the media in times of emergency. The Rollins Debate Team argued for censoring the media in times of emergency and the BFSU Debate Team argued against censorship. In the end, the debate was educational, engaging, and we shared varying opinions during the open discussion portion of the event. The last series of debates were filmed in the studios China Central Television are will be aired on the popular television show Crossover from October 1st through October 4th. Unlike in the first debate, the members of the Rollins team were paired with members of the BFSU team for these debates. The topics of the debates included: (1) which is more important in a marriage spiritual wealth or material wealth? (2) Traditional social networking is better than online social networking; and (3) Reality TV does more harm than good. Afterward the debates we talked with the producer and host of Crossover for a while and then we returned to our hotel. The trip ended with David Gevorgyan presenting a paper at the Boya Forum at Beijing Foreign Studies University.
On November 8th and 9th, the members of the Rollins College Varsity Debate Team participated in an electrifying debate competition at the Florida State College at Jacksonville at the South Campus. This was a state-wide debate competition so Rollins competed against other Floridacolleges and universities (Florida State University, Miami Dade Community College, Florida Southern College, University of Central Florida, etc.) The topics at this competition included, stopping subsidies for companies that outsource jobs, the separation of church and state, and reducing the amount of candy kids eat.
The final round featured a debate between Rollins, represented by Zohaib Jessani and David Gevorgyan, and a team from Florida State University. The topic of the round was: This House Believes that the United States should sign onto the Treaty for the International Criminal Court. Both teams performed well but Rollins lost in a 2 to 1 decision to the Florida State Team. Nevertheless, Rollins was awarded best overall debate team, 1st Place in Sweepstakes Points, 2nd place in Parliamentary Debate, 1st place, 4rdplace, and 6th place Speaker Awards.
On the weekend of October 18, 2012, the Rollins College Debate Team participated in a mid-west regional debate competition at Berea College in Berea Kentucky. This debate competition featured teams from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida. As is customary in parliamentary debates, audience members were encouraged to shout cheers and jeers while the speakers offered arguments in favor of and against issues such as the Dream Act, Fracking, Subsidies, and globalization. The Rollins Debate Team posted a record of 5 and 1 in the preliminary rounds, but, unfortunately, lost in the first elimination round by a vote of 2 to 1. Nevertheless, Rollins was award 7th Place in the Competition and 3rd Place in Parliamentary Speaking.
NPDA Novice National Competition - Lafayette College
Rollins College is a member of the National Parliamentary Debate Association which is the largest debate association in America with more than 1,100 members. During spring break the novice members of the Rollins Debate Team attended the National Parliamentary Debate Association’s Novice National Competition in Philadelphia, PA. We performed excellently! I am extremely happy to announce that we are currently ranked second nationally in novice parliamentary debate, we have the second and third best novice parliamentary debaters in the country, Melissa Fussell #2 and Rebecca Wilson #3, and we are the fourth best novice team overall, i.e. in all categories of competition, i.e. debate, impromptu speaking, etc. Please join me in congratulating Melissa Fussell and Rebecca Wilson and the member of the debate team on a job well done.
On Wednesday, July 20, members of the Rollins College Varsity Debate Team participated in an electrifying debate competition at ITT Tech’s Lake Mary campus. For the first time ever ITT Tech hosted an exhibition debate featuring the Rollins Debate Team on the topics of (1) national standardized testing and (2) using the International Criminal Court to prosecute the perpetrators of torture at Guantanamo Bay.
The debate was organized by ITT English Instructor Sarah Beth Hopton as part of an ongoing intellectual exchange between ITT and Rollins College. Moreover, it was well attended by ITT students, guests, and instructors; even the Associate Dean of General Studies, Leslie Gibson, was in attendance. As is customary in parliamentary debates, the members of the audience were encouraged to shout cheers and jeers while the speakers offered arguments in favor of and against standardized testing and using the International Criminal Court to prosecute American citizens. The audience was also invited to judge the debate and determine the winners.
Speaking about this event, Rollins Alumni Associate Dean Gibson remarked: “What a pleasure it was to have you and your debate team members here at ITT Tech to demonstrate the power of language to our students!” She continued: “I especially appreciated the agenda that you prepared for Ms. Hopton’s composition class that allowed the audience to see the preparation and strategy behind the scenes as well as the actual debate.” Ms. Sarah Beth Hopton added: “I was on quite the intellectual high after the debate, largely because it was so nice to be surrounded by such excellent minds.” She continued: “Many students commented that it changed their view of debate, and some even said it changed their view of writing and researching, meaning, they finally see the value in English!”
The Rollins team thanked the ITT administration and staff for hosting them and promised to return for more debates in the future.