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Debating Championship in Alaska!

Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
181 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 05, at 11:59 PM EST
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Debating Championship in Alaska!

In 2012 the International Debate Education Association ranked Cornell University the #1 debate team in the world. Cornell boasts one of the largest debate teams in the U.S., frequently sending over a dozen teams to tournaments. Each year that we've been able to attend the national championship, the trophy has been just out of reach.

This year, we want to win. 

The U.S. Universities Debating Championship 2015 will be hosted by the University of Alaska at Anchorage April 10-13. 

Key to achieving a crowning victory for Cornell will be sending a critical mass of top debaters in both novice (first year of debate) and varsity categories.

To do this, we need your help. 

Past competitions have been within driving distance, allowing us to hire a bus and commute for a lower cost. We cannot, however, drive to Alaska. This significantly increases the cost to attend this season's national championship.   Here's a breakdown of the cost per student of attendance 

Flights: Ithaca to Anchorage - $800-$1,000/person

Accommodation :$25/person/night - appx. 5 nights in Anchorage - $125/person

Registration fees, which cover food, venues and hired judges - $60/person.

Total Cost, per student: $1,185

Our goal is to provide partial, if not full, funding to 12 students. The more money we bring in, the more Cornell teams we can enter in the competition, and the closer we are to bringing home a national championship. 

Why Send So Many?

Unlike other institutions who may have two or three highly competitive teams, we have immense depth in our team. In addition to three internationally competitive teams, we have numerous juniors and sophomores who consistently rank in the top third as both teams and individual speakers at tournaments. Our freshman class is the most promising ever, winning the novice championships at the Bard IV 2014 and making it to the novice final at the Hart House IV 2014. 

Our top teams: Justin Ying and Julius Kairey were among the highest-ranked teams at the World Universities Debating Championship 2014 in Chennai, India.  Adnan Muttalib and En Ting Lee were in the finals at the Yale IV 2014 - which is one of the most competitive tournaments in the United States.  Jennifer Kim and Ben Leff were finalists at the Bard IV 2014, showing immense promise at the warm-up tournament for our region. 

Benefits to the Speech and Policy Debate Teams

In addition to sending our Worlds teams, we are also opening up our entries to members of the Speech team and the Policy Debate team. Speech students hone their impromptu and persuasion skills by joining us in regular debate practices and attending the U.S. Championships in Alaska.  The Policy Debate team has had a very successful year and are intent on sending their policy teams to compete in the Worlds format in Alaska. Policy debaters bring a great energy and quick rebuttal skills to our format and are able to hone their own speaking and quick-draw argumentation skills in Worlds competitions.


In exchange for your generous support, we promise to do the following: 

1) Prepare Extensively

We assign our students topic area briefs weekly. They spend hours researching their topic then compiling relevant information into a two-page fact-sheet and distribute those briefs to the team. Each debate team creates a "Brief Book" which they'll bring to tournaments. Our style of debate does not allow access to the internet or electronic materials once the topic has been announced, so compiling fact sheets is essential for our success. 

2) Spend Responsibly 

With our budget as tight as it is, we place financial stewardship at the top of our priority list. We stay at the most economical hotels, secure travel discounts and limit our dining to affordable group restaurants. 

Our hotel in Buffalo prior to crossing into Canada for the Hart House IV  

Our hotel in Buffalo, prior to crossing into Canada for the Hart House IV in Toronto

3) Represent Cornell Well

We instill in all our debaters a strong sense of duty to Cornell and by extension to you - our donors. Our students always treat competitors from other institutions with respect. They win with grace and humility, and lose with dignity and good humor. Our teams are well liked in the community and promise to consistently represent Cornell well. 

Cornell's delegation at the Hart House IV 2014 in Toronto, Canada. From left to right Justin Ying '16, Maggie Heinichen '15, Julius Kairey '15, En Ting Lee '17, Jen Kim '16 Lindsay Bing (coach), Minae Kwon '17, Inbum Lee '17, Ben Leff  '16, Charlie Morris MILR '16, Dan Stoyell '18, Rubin Danberg-Biggs '18, Adnan Muttalib '16, Andrew Shi '17

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Junior Varsity