Thanks for visiting!

This project is now in update mode. Check back regularly to see how things are progressing.

Advance Civil Discourse with Big Red Speech & Debate

Raised toward our $15,000 Goal
129 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on December 01, at 12:00 AM EST
Project Owners

Advance Civil Discourse with Big Red Speech & Debate

Why do we love speech and debate so much? Because it offers the opportunity to “UNLEASH OUR VOICE” through competition and community!


As one of the top ranked speech and debate programs in the world, we are dedicated to spreading the power of argumentation, debate and persuasive communication. We see this as a privilege and a responsibility. With a history of committed volunteerism and service learning, Cornell Speech & Debate Society students, faculty and staff contribute over 1,000 hours of service annually working with individuals and community organizations in Ithaca and beyond.


Support us as we strive to become a greater resource for argumentation, debate, persuasive communication and public speaking skills, with the ultimate vision of increasing civic engagement and encouraging public discourse. Funds raised will help to expand our education outreach programs to youth – especially to more rural and urban youth and young adults, to university students who currently lack access to debate education and in collaboration with public libraries and lifelong learning programs. Importantly, we also want to spread our love for speech and debate through public debates, collaborating with alumni and local communities to highlight important issues of concern.


Be a champion in competition AND make the world a more civilized place! Join us as we advance civil discourse striving for a more engaged society!  


2017-2018 Outreach Programs

Key outreach programs the Cornell Speech & Debate Society will be focusing on this year include the following: 

Voices of the Unheard Debate Academy

In collaboration with the Southside Community Center in Ithaca, we are launching Voices of the Unheard Debate Academy, a pilot after-school enrichment program for middle and high school youth to develop their argumentation, persuasive communication, critical thinking and debate skills. We believe in the importance of ensuring that youth today have the abilities and the platform to voice their perspectives and concerns regarding issues facing their schools, communities and families. Voices of the Unheard, led by Cornell Speech & Debate coaches and students, creates a foundation for youth to build the necessary skills to become involved citizens in today’s society.

Debate and Discussion Outreach in Area Juvenile Detention Centers

One of the primary arms of our outreach program has always been working in New York area prisons and juvenile detention centers where Cornell Speech & Debate staff and students lead weekly debate training, discuss research and hold practice debates. Additionally, we have held public debates where inmates will debate against Cornell and other experienced debaters.. 

Public Debates On and Off Campus

Cornell has a rich history and tradition of public debates on campus engaging students, faculty and staff across campus on a variety of issues. The Class of 1894 ensured that this tradition of critical thinking and free speech on campus would continue with the establishment of an endowment to create the annual Class of 1894 Debates. Over 120 years later, we believe that this tradition is more critical than ever. We believe that not only should the Cornell community engage with each other, importantly, we need to engage our communities with the importance of debate as a tool for civic engagement. This year, in addition to expanding the number of public debates hosted on campus, we will also be launching a debate series in winter/spring 2018 in several cities across the U.S., working with our local alumni to ensure that Cornell maintains this important practice of dialogue and discussion on critical issues.

Spanish Debate Outreach

With our Spanish debate program growing in strength, we plan to launch a community-based debate outreach program focused on training native Spanish speakers and Spanish language learners in the art of argumentation and debate. Cornell Speech & Debate will collaborate with a number of community-based organizations to launch this program and provide a space for innovative and critical discussion.

Debate Across the Curriculum

Working with area school districts and educators, Cornell Speech & Debate will pilot a series of initiatives aimed at implementing “debate across the curriculum”. Debate is a tool that educators can incorporate in their classrooms and schools across all subject areas, supporting the development of important 21st century skills. In addition to program implementation, we will also be evaluating the program success as well as the students’ learning experience and outcomes from utilizing debate in and outside of the classroom.


What Your Support Helps Achieve

Each of these programs showcase Cornell's true spirit through an ethic of hospitality, high quality competition and unparalleled sportsmanship. When you donate to our cause, your funds will make each of these programs possible and create a foundation to sustain them in future years. In fulfilling our mission to spread the importance of critical thought and constructive argumentation through speech and debate, we look forward to having you join us in advancing civil discourse for a more engaged society. 


Choose a giving level



Supply materials for one after-school session for middle and high school students.



Provide one public speaking and argumentation training workshop for on-campus organizations and departments



Support virtual debate training sessions with international debate programs in Africa and South America.


Junior Varsity

Award scholarship assistance to youth to attend argumentation and debate training.



Sponsor one professional development seminar for K-12 educators to incorporate debate across the curriculum.


Top Speaker

Reward debate fellowships to university students abroad to attend annual International Summer Debate Camp.



Launch public debate series on campus and in multiple cities across the U.S.