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 year.
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 in debating.
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.
The Debate Society is housed within the Department of Rhetoric, Communication and Theatre and is directed by Professor Stephen Llano.