Geoffrey Shaughnessy ’09 debates around the globe
When it came time for me to decide which college I’d attend, debate was certainly a factor. Of all the NESCAC schools, Bates easily has the strongest debate program, with the most established history, the best budget, and the most opportunity.
Debate gives you criteria for framing your ideas. It allows you think critically and get straight to the issue. The skills are applicable in all of your classes, in writing papers and framing theses and in everyday life.
Typically only ten percent of our incoming members have previous debate experience. At the beginning of each year, there is an emphasis on preparing novices for their first tournament. Most are ready to compete within a week, and they are working independently with little oversight within a few months. Some of our most successful debaters had no experience prior to joining the team.
Bates has the resources to send more people internationally than just about any of the schools we regularly compete against. Every year we send teams to World Championships, which was in Bangkok last year and Cork, Ireland, this year. As a freshman, I traveled to California for a debate at Stanford. During my sophomore year I debated at Newcastle and Durham, England, and I attended the World Championships in Vancouver as a judge. That degree of travel is atypical even for Bates, but many team members will travel internationally before they graduate.
Read about the history of debate at Bates: