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Speech and Debate: Big Teams, Big Dreams!

Raised toward our $50,000 Goal
203 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 11, at 11:59 PM EST
Project Owners

Big Teams, Big Dreams!

Why Support the Cornell Speech & Debate Society?

The need for your funding cannot be overstated. As one of the most deeply impacted societies from the Covid-19 pandemic, our membership and funding have taken a drastic hit, and our focused rebuilding requires your support more than ever. Three years of CSDS students have had little to no exposure to speech and debate as it always was: home to a cooperative team spirit built on global competition, to quick thinking that feeds off the energy of the room, and to advocacy that takes us beyond the boundaries of Cornell. This year, our teams have returned to a pre-pandemic size, and to enable our students to travel and compete, we need your support more than ever.

Despite a global pandemic and significant budget cuts, the Speech and Debate students, staff, and leaders have ensured that we never faltered. We’ve created new partnerships in China, India, and Vietnam; Won the North American Championships in debate and have topped the AFA National Championship in speech; and continued our long-standing community service programs such as training through the national prison debate league, on-campus advocacy training, and in our many international programs. 

We require YOUR support to back or Big Teams, Big Dreams initiative, which aims to enable every Speech and Debate student to embark on their travel journeys. We can't achieve this without your help!

Above: Cornell Speech and Debate Society members assembled in front of Uris Hall before the end-of-year banquet.

Speech & Debate has been growing — we have resurgent policy debate and Spanish debate teams, as well as scores of new British parliamentary debaters and speech competitors — and counts more than 150 members in its ranks. To support all of them, seniors to freshmen, veteran debaters to brand new recruits, we rely on your generosity. 

Your gift to the Cornell Speech and Debate Society ensures the program remains accessible, and enables students to travel to the season's most important and educational competitions.

Above: Program Director Sam Nelson welcomes new members with a lecture on argumentation.

Above: Debate team victories in both English and Spanish: the University Club debates in NYC and CMUDE in Madrid.

Above: Speech qualifiers who were invited to travel to the AFA National Championships.

Your contribution, no matter the size, is ESSENTIAL to our continued success. 

Once again, our esteemed Cornell alumni Jeremy Rosen and Jodi Kruger have graciously pledged to match the first $5,000 in Speech and Debate crowdfunding donations! This means that your contribution during our Speech and Debate crowdfunding campaign will have double the impact.

Please give what you can and empower the next generation of Speech & Debate!

The following programs are made possible by your generosity:

1. Global Empowerment: Cornellians teach debate to students and adults in countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Uganda, South Africa, China, Vietnam, Kazakhstan, and India — and in the constitution state, Connecticut!

2. Local Service: We’ve worked with everyone from prisoners to high school students to senior citizens, including programs with Ithaca High School, Dryden High School, Spencer Van Etten High School, and the Roads Scholar program. 

3. Informing the Campus: We’ve taught debate skills to ROTC cadets, hosted major intellectuals speaking on everything from the future of money to the midterm elections, and moderated campus political debates.  

4. Speech & Debate Competition: During the past two years of the pandemic, Cornell Speech and Debate competitors have amassed hundreds of appearances in elimination rounds.  

Above, you can see the Cornell International Summer Debate Camp's most recent graduating class. Your support makes this camp possible!

Our programs all have one thing in common: a learning experience impossible anywhere else. Whether it’s informing the campus, competing world-wide, or teaching speech and debate to others, the work of the Cornell Speech and Debate Society leaves its members with permanent community bonds that stretch across state and national boundaries, the ability to advocate for themselves, and a sense of fulfillment having taught that skill to others. When you give, that transformative work grows. 

And when you donate, you can see some of the students you’re supporting. Pictured below, Cornell Speech and Debate members over the last year: 

Above: Speech team celebrates great success at Lafayette College's Ocho IE tournament. 

Above: Policy succeeds at Binghamton Tournament, joined by club president and BP captain as judges.

Above: BP team debaters celebrate successes after sequential victories at the North American Universities Debating Championships and the Finger Lakes cup.

Above: Policy debaters pose with coach outside of Georgetown University to celebrate ADA success. 

Above: English BP team celebrates during the award ceremony of University of Toronto debate tournament.

Above: Spanish BP team poses after successful Cornell hosting of the CHIDO tournament.

Above: Speech team celebrates many victories at Seton Hall Invitational.

Above: Shared travel and tournament victory between Spanish and English BP teams to novice nationals, where new debaters are supported and provided guidance by more experienced debaters who volunteer to support new members in the debate community.

Above, Program Director Sam Nelson leads a class in South Africa.

Above, student debaters lecture abroad in India and Vietnam.

Donate now to support the Cornell Speech and Debate Society’s worldwide success and service! Hundreds of students are endlessly grateful for your generosity. 

Choose a giving level


Sponsor One Meal

Your support will sponsor the meal of one team member!


Sponsor Registration Fees

Your contribution will cover registration fees for a student at a tournament!


Sponsor Lodging

Your contribution will sponsor local accommodations and lodging for a member of speech and debate!


Sponsor One Bus Ticket

Your contribution will fund a bus ticket for a student in speech and debate!


Sponsor Team Lodging

Your contribution will sponsor the lodging for ten speakers and debaters!


Sponsor Plane Ticket

Your contribution will sponsor a plane ticket so that a speaker or debater will be able to compete internationally!


Tournament Sponsor

Your contribution will support the entire Cornell team of speakers and debaters to travel, lodge, and register to a national or international tournament!


Team Benefactor

This donation will ensure that Cornell Speech and Debate continues to grow and achieve new heights of success!