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Make Cornell Speech & Debate Champions

Raised toward our $20,000 Goal
169 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on October 30, at 11:59 PM EDT
Project Owners

Make Cornell Speech & Debate Champions

The Cornell Speech & Debate Society (CSDS), formerly known as Cornell Forensics Society, boasts a membership of over 150 Cornell students who participate in competitive speaking and debating events throughout the year. Our mission continues to centralize around the Cornell motto "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study," as we open opportunities for all interested students to learn public speaking, argumentation and critical thinking skills. A majority of our funds are spent serving this mission. 

As a result, we are asking for your help. We need to raise $20,000 to fund all of our elite championship tournaments.

Choose your giving level in the column on the right to support the CSDS. Each level describes some of the costs that could be covered by your gift. 

CSDS is home to four competitive squads: Policy Debate, Speech, Worlds Debate and Spanish Worlds Debate. Each squad competes on a national or international circuit against top universities throughout the year in preparation for elite championship tournaments. Championship tournaments are one of the most valuable experiences our students can have. Not only do they require intense preparation, dedication and commitment, but they also push our students to realize their full potential. Championship tournaments benefit all of our students, not just those who attend them. When our top teams return from these competitions, they bring back skills and experience that is spread throughout CSDS. 

Policy Debate 

The Policy Debate team proudly represents a long history of highly academic debating at Cornell. This 2 v 2 format requires intensive research on a single topic for the entire year, and the development of different cases to outsmart opponents. Like a game of chess, strategy and skill are highly rewarded. The topic this year reads "Resolved: The United States should significantly reduce its military presence in one or more of the following: The Arab states of the Persian Gulf, the Greater Horn of Africa, Northeast Asia." 

Policy Championship Tournaments:

Novice & Junior Varsity National Championship March 4-6,SUNY Binghamton

Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship Varsity March 26-29, SUNY Binghamton 

National Debate Tournament (NDT)  March 31- April 4, SUNY Binghamton   



The Speech team competes in classic individual and dual forensics events such as Extemporaneous, Oratory, Humorous, Impromptu and After Dinner Speaking. Some events are limited preparation speeches, whereby students are given a topic and expected to prepare a well-researched speech in less than 30 minutes. Other events allow for students to craft and perfect a speech over the course of many months.

Speech Championship Tournament: 

American Forensics Association National Championship April 2 - 4, University of Florida


Worlds Debate

The Worlds Debate team is the newest member of the CSDS family. Following the debate style developed at Oxford, Worlds is the fastest-growing collegiate debate format and the only one practiced on six continents. This format has two teams proposing the resolution and two teams opposing it, but none of the four teams may prepare together. Upon receiving the topic, debaters have only 15 minutes to prepare for the debate. Some memorable topics have been "This house believes the E.U. should have binding quotas for the admittance of refugees," and "This house supports the significant expansion of free trade agreements."  

Worlds Championship Tournaments: 

World Universities Debating Championship December 28 - January 4, Thessaloniki, Greece

Northeast Universities Debating Championship February 27-28, Greater New York  

U.S. Universities Debating Championship April 8-10,  Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA 


Spanish Worlds Debate

Spanish-Language Worlds Debate is a growing debate circuit that follows the Worlds format rules, but debates in Spanish rather than English. Cornell's Julia Montejo (A&S, '17) and Jose Martinez (ILR '17) are the reigning Pan-American Spanish-Language Champions, defeating teams from Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico at the University of Miami last winter. Our Spanish-language debaters are simultaneously part of the Worlds Debate team, training and competing in English most of the year. 

Spanish Worlds Championship Tournament: 

Pan-American Debating Championship  March 24-28, Kingston, Jamaica   


We won't let you down. 

We don't just want to attend these tournaments. We want to win them. Last year we came very close and we are thankfully welcoming back nearly all of our top speakers and teams. With your help, we will be able to send our most competitive teams to these elite competitions. The CSDS promises to be responsible stewards of your generous support by cutting cost wherever possible. We stay in the cheapest motels we can find, drive long distances to avoid the cost of airfare and take long bus journeys to larger airports to catch the lowest-cost flights when we have to fly. 

Thank you for our generous support. Every dollar counts.

Please follow our Fall Season progress online at We will update our posts regularly to share our success! 

Choose a giving level



Cover partial registration fees for one student.



Provide one night of housing for a competitor.



Covers registration fees for two Speech competitors or one Debate partnership.



Fund transportation and accommodation for one Policy Debate team.



Cover airfare for one Speech or Worlds Debate competitor heading to Nationals.



Send half of the Policy Debate Novices to the Novice National Championship.


Top Speaker

Send a team to the World Universities Debating Championship.



Send an entire novice or varsity squad to their national championship tournament.