Whitworth was the Irish champions’ first stop on their 2015 United States Debate Tour last Thursday evening. The Music Building room 101 was full of students and faculty members as the Whitworth debate team and Irish champions presented their arguments on the topic of open borders during the exhibition debate. Senior Rebecca Korf opened the debate with Whitworth’s first presentation of an affirmative case towards nations having open borders. Along with Korf, seniors Bri Anne Miller and Sarah Streyder made up the trio for the debate.
Each member was allotted seven minutes to present his or her case and to answer any objections the opposing team had made in their arguments. The first minute is given to the presenter as an uninterrupted introduction, meaning that the opposing team may not interrupt. The next five minutes allows the opposing team to ask any and as many questions as they would like, but the presenter has the option to either accept or deny the interruptions. The last minute is an uninterrupted closing.
This style of debate was one that the Whitworth team had to adjust to. Normally, the team debates in individual competitions and this was the first debate where they had to work as a team and rely on each other.
“I was nervous that we wouldn’t necessarily do the style justice,” Streyder said, explaining why she seemed nervous right before the debate began. In the end, the Whitworth team worked together and put on a strong front.
The three Irish competitors, Hugh Guidera, Eoin Maclachlan and Rónán O’Conner, presented their arguments thoroughly against the Whitworth team—even including an analogy about pine cones, which humored the crowd.
The young men won the Irish Times National Debating Championship, and were then rewarded with a tour of the United States. They have a total of eight stops, Whitworth being the first, and places such as Colorado, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee still on their list, with a final stop in, Miami, Florida.
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