The UK Debaters are a group who come to America each year, visiting certain universities and participating in debates with the students of those schools. They will be at WTAMU on Monday, October 8 at 6:00 p.m., debating with two students from the Communications department. The event will take place in the Jack B. Kelly Student Center and all students are encouraged to attend.
“The event is beneficial to those participating and the ones who attend,” Keagan Folkerts, CORE student activities consultant, said. “People get to hear the opinions of people from somewhere else. Their ways of thinking are different from ours and it’s really cool to hear them talk.”
The two UK debaters are Ettie Baily-King and Willard Foxton. The WT students who will participate in the debates are Bethany Beck, a graduate student in the Communication department and Chris Bridenbaugh, a senior Corporate Communications major. Each debater will be paired up from a member of the opposite team to ensure fairness.
Beck, who is currently a graduate assistant for the WT Speech Team, said debate teaches critical thinking and provides participants the confidence to succeed in whatever field they choose to go into. She said she first became interested in debate in high school.
“I began competing in Lincoln-Douglas Debate my freshman year of high school which was back in 2000,” Beck said. “From 2004 to 2008, I competed in parliamentary debate for Cameron University. I love debate and think that it is a fantastic activity.”
Bridenbaugh said he started debating during his senior year of high school and has been involved with it in some version ever since.
”I was actually asked to participate in the debates my first year at WT, and they haven’t been able to get rid of me since,” Bridenbaugh said.
The event is hosted by Lambda Phi Eta and paid for by the Distinguished Lecture group. It will be parliamentary style debate, which means the audience is encouraged to participate by choosing sides to support and agreeing and disagreeing with the debaters out loud. At the end, audience members will be able to vote and decide which team won the debate.
“They have been doing this for several years and it’s always a really great experience for everyone who comes out,” Folkerts said.
The debate is free and open to the public. According to Beck, the debate will be a lot of fun.
“The British debaters have a history of being extremely fun,” Beck said. “They have always come to enjoy themselves and interact with American students in an enjoyable and entertaining way.”
Bridenbaugh said that even students who aren’t sure if debate is something they are interested in, they should still check out the event.
“Even if you don’t like or understand debate, you can at least listen to some awesome British accents and if that isn’t enough a lot of professors are offering extra credit if you attend,” Bridenbaugh said.