The St. John’s University Debate Society is the premiere
international academic competitive student organization offered at
St. John’s University. The Society regularly competes at
debate tournaments regionally, nationally and internationally,
sometimes up to 15 tournament opportunities during the academic
The Society was established by the University in the fall of 2007
in order to offer the opportunity for St. John’s students of any
major or school to establish and refine skills in critical
thinking, speaking skills, argumentation, refutation and global
political awareness. Debate, as practiced by the Society,
offers students the most intense, fun and exciting method for
engaging these essential skills which are so vital to business,
personal, and civic life in the globalized 21st century
world. These skills are also vital tools in the quest for
self-discovery and the key to the proper development of the
enlightened human being.
The Society competes in British Parliamentary style debating, which
is the most common worldwide debate format and the format in which
the World University Debating Championships (WUDC) are held.
The WUDC annual tournament hosts over 300 teams from all over the
world in global debate competition to determine the world champion
The Debate Society also hosts on-campus public debates on timely
and important issues facing the campus community, as well as hosts
demonstration debates versus travelling international debate teams
such as the British and Slovenian National Debate Teams.
The Debate Society requires no membership fee and no
audition. Interested undergraduate students need only attend
one of the Debate Society’s regular meetings, or join their
Facebook or St. John’s Central Group to get more information.
Attendance at the meetings, regular practice, and regular research
is all that is required to participate in tournament travel.
Participation is open to any and all registered St. John’s
University students from any college or major. You can also view
the Debate Society
The Debate Society is housed within the Department of Rhetoric,
Communication and Theatre and is directed by Professor Stephen