The UR Debate Union (URDU) is a hidden gem that more students need to be extracted more often. In high school, I participated in Lincoln Douglass (LD) debate and Student Congress, but I wasn’t as active as I would like due to money issues. I wasn’t as driven to do debate in high school because I never won anything at a tournament (and never made it to eliminations), and that changed once I joined URDU. My first intercollegiate debate tournament was the West Point Invitational at West Point. There, I won my very first debate round ever and I owe that to the wonderful debate coaches. The thing about URDU that makes it so different than most teams on the NDT-CEDA circuit is the openness of the team.
Debaters with no experience are more than welcomed to join URDU and all they have to do is attend an URDU meeting. The best thing about the URDU is the free travel! Because of a gracious benefactor, all members of the URDU can travel for free to tournaments. FREE hotel rooms, team dinners, car and air travel (to national tournaments) are FREE. Also, if you can prove that you are dedicated to the debate game and show potential/progress, you might be able to get URDU to subsidize your tuition at summer debate camps.
Currently, I am at policy debate camp in Vermont called The Loon, more specifically the East Coast Loon since there is another Loon on the West Coast. As a debater for the university, I decided to spend some of my summer to refine and develop my debate skills, so I can be a better debater and advocate. My time at the Loon has been very interesting and life-affirming. The East Coast Loon is located on a mountain in Vermont where I have had the privilege to see STARS! There were hundreds of stars scattered and packed throughout the dark sky and for a minute, I felt really really small. The best part of my star-gazing was when I was lucky enough to see a meteor shoot across the sky! As a girl from a large city in the south , I never had that privilege or opportunity to see the beauty of space and Vermont gave me that.
Being on the debate team, especially at UR, has provided me with great experiences and access to a community filled with love, competitiveness, and deep intellectuals. If you would like to know more about the URDU or policy debate in general, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Dewey 1-204 when school starts.