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Augustana Debate Union celebrates successes

December  20, 2012

Members of the Augustana Debate Union (ADU) enjoyed a strong start to their 2012-2013 campaign. The program has grown in size and the activities have expanded both on- and off-campus.

During the fall term, 13 Augustana students traveled to tournaments held at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City Kansas Community College (KCKCC) and Wake Forest University. Five of these students competed at the first intercollegiate debates of their career.

This year’s topic is “Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce restrictions on and/or substantially increase financial incentives for energy production in the United States of one or more of the following: coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear power, solar power, wind power.”

Hard work is paying off. Viking debaters have placed at half of the tournaments, so far. At UNI, first-year students Luke Toppel, South Elgin, Ill., and John LeChuga, Cicero, Ill., earned second place in the novice division. First-year student LaDonna Miller, Chicago, and sophomore Mara Cantrell-Paulson, Sioux City, Iowa, advanced to the quarterfinals of the junior-varsity division. Senior Andrew Heidtke, Cedarburg, Wis., was awarded the sixth-place speaker award in the open division that same weekend.

At the KCKCC tournament, first-year students Becky Brosch, Huntley, Ill., and Omar Rizvi, Bettendorf, Iowa, teamed up to bring home a semi-finalist trophy in the novice division.

On campus, during Augustana’s Symposium Day, members of the ADU led a public debate on the importance of voting in the 2012 presidential election. The ADU also helped host a presidential DebateWatch on Oct. 3, providing commentary and analysis breaking down the arguments between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.

Team president Andrew Heidtke led a delegation of Augie debaters to the West Des Moines-Valley High School debate tournament in September, where they distributed literature on their program and judged future Viking debaters.

During winter term, at least four new Viking debaters will make their policy debate debut, at tournaments slated for Illinois State University, the University of Texas-Dallas, Indiana University and Northwestern University.

“When combined with anticipation for more public debates, judging events and other community outreach initiatives, it is clear that the future is bright for the Augustana Debate Union,” said Max Archer, visiting instructor in communication studies and the ADU advisor.

Students interested in joining the debate team should contact Archer at (309) 794-7717 or MaxArcher@augustana.edu. ADU meetings are held Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in the Augustana Debate Union, Sorenson Hall, Room 111.

Keri Rursch
Director of Public Relations
(309) 794-7721
kerirursch@augustana.edu