The Debate Club is selecting their topic for the upcoming formal debate during winter term in a new and unusual way. The topic for the winter term will be chosen by the student body in order to peak more interest in the club by allowing students to be interactive and influential in what the Debate Club debates. The idea is also expected to raise awareness of the debate club and its beneficial elements.

ASUCC President Mark Silva-Horta said that he would like to see the club explore subjects like U.S. health care or campus policies. If you would like to participate in Debate Club, they are accepting new members but there are no officers positions open at this time. Some teachers award extra credit for just attending the debate meetings or a debate. “Besides the extra credit, debate provides you with beneficial skills like becoming a better public speaker and listener,” says Silva-Horta who has been a member of debate for about one year now. Silva-Horta says the small impromptu debates the club does are his favorite because you have to think quickly. Silva-Horta thinks it will be an interesting challenge to leave the subject of the winter term debate up to the student body and is looking forward to the new approach.

President of the club Chase Gilley says that the club is active with all types of debate topics to analyze this year. There was a debate on Friday Nov. 29 over lobbying, and will be another one on Dec. 3 2010 on the Civil War as well. Club members meet at noon, every Friday, at Snyder Hall in room 18. Thoughts and opinions are shared on current events and controversial issues, like the last debate on Friday, Dec. 3 regarding lobbying. The club also debates fun and lighthearted topics such as the My Space vs. Facebook battle or the upcoming UO vs. OSU civil war.

For those of you interested in checking out debate but are hesitant due to fear of public speaking, relax, Gilley assured me that no one has to speak and they can assist in research or other ways of the debate. “It’s a friendly environment, and we have a need for people to help build arguments just as much as we need people to voice the argument,” says Gilley. With a full schedule of upcoming debates lined up, and the student’s issues now being addressed, there will be a lot of opportunities for new members to contribute, according to Gilley. He encourages people who just want to observe to attend. Communications expert and Debate Advisor Paula Usrey pressures no one to speak or debate, but feels public speaking is a life-long tool that can build confidence, leadership, teamwork and listening skills in our academic, professional and personal aspects of life. Usrey says “many people come in planning on being quiet and observing, but then find themselves not being able to resist speaking up on many of the engaging topics that come up.”

Anyone who is interested in attending debate club can find the group meeting every Friday at noon in room 18 in Snyder Hall. For the rest of the student body, the debate club needs you to be pro-active and inform them of your potential topic to be debated for the formal debate in winter term, which has no exact date yet. To enter your idea for discussion, please contact Chase Gilley, Paula Usrey, The Mainstream, Student Government, or anyone in the debate club, and the Mainstream will publish the results.