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Clemson Debate Society

Clemson Debate SocietyThe Clemson Debate Society offers students the ability to learn about some of the most pressing issues facing the world today. We travel across the United States and the world competing in the British Parliamentary Style of debate. We also have public debates throughout each academic year to help bring important topics for our fellow Clemson students to think about and be exposed to.

Our meeting room is located in 306 Daniel Hall. This is where we have our meetings, practice, and hang out between classes. We have an open door policy and anyone who wants to work hard and meet a lot of cool people is welcome to join our team!

If you are worried about not having enough experience or never having competed in debate (or maybe you never even heard of it until looking us up!) please have no fear! Almost all of our students who join the team come from little or no debate background. We will teach you everything you need to know! Our coach works extremely hard to make sure you will have everything you need to feel confident and ready before your first tournament.

Please contact our coach, Lindsey Dixon at lcdixon24@gmail.com for more information!

  • When Do We Meet?

    We have meetings on the following days:

    • Monday 6:00-7:00 PM
    • Tuesday 5:00-6:00 PM
    • Wednesday 5:00-6:00 PM
    • Sunday from 12:00-2:00 PM

    Our Monday night meeting is a general what’s happening this upcoming week and provides information about logistics for tournaments and the basics of debate.
    Tuesday and Wednesday are when we run drills and practice making better arguments. You only have to come to one or the other, NOT both.
    Finally, Sunday night meets are for full debate practices.

  • What is British Parliamentary Debate?

    British Parliamentary Debate is based off the House of Parliament in the UK. There are two sides of the debate: Government and Opposition.

    Government

    Opposition

    Team 1: Opening Government

    Team 2: Opening Opposition

    Team 3: Closing Government

    Team 4: Closing Opposition

     You and a partner will be randomly put into one of four teams shown above for every debate you participate in. At a tournament you will debate 5 or 6 times different times and be assigned a different position every round. Each time you debate you will talk about a different topic. You could debate about Economics, Feminism, or International Relations. A motion (topic) will be given 15 minutes before you will debate. 

    The following are some motions that have been set at tournaments we have attended:

    This House would ban anonymity on the internet.

    This House regrets the rise of a ‘hookup culture’ (one which accepts and encourages casual sexual encounters focused on physical pleasure, without necessarily including emotional bonding)

    This House would prohibit the media from reporting on the mental illness of those accused of crimes. 

    This House believes that the creation of feminist icons and their cults of personality are good for the feminist movement.

    This House believes that United States foreign policy should seek to significantly restrict Iran’s influence over Syria.

    This house regrets the glamorization of start-up culture that encourages people to start their own companies rather than pursue traditional career paths.

    In regions with severe, widespread violence against women, this house supports acts of vigilante justice in response to gendered assaults (Israel, Egypt, etc.).

     

  • Travel Opportunities

    clemson-debate-society-paris.pngBesides the critical thinking skills and supportive community you gain while being on the team, you also have other perks! We offer a lot of very unique travel opportunities to students who are willing to work hard and represent Clemson University’s amazing academic reputation!

    There are three different types of travel opportunities on the team: 

    Van rides
    We often travel upwards to 13 hours up and down the east coast for tournaments. Anyone willing to travel and sit in a van will have a spot. This may sound like a nightmare (and it is tbh) but this is actually where a lot of team bonding happens! 

    Domestic plane tickets
    We often travel to Denver and further out west for a variety of tournaments throughout the year.  These tournaments are reserved for our more competitive teams OR for teams showing great promise through their hard work. 

    International plane tickets
    These are reserved for our best teams who will travel to some of the most challenging tournaments around the world. These teams have shown great dedication, put in hours and hours of additional work, and are ready to represent Clemson University on the international stage.  

    Additionally, we travel to The Worlds University Debating Championship that is held every year over winter break. This tournament invites the best 400 teams from around the world to come and compete to see who will be the next world champion. We have traveled to the following world championships: 

    • Chennai, India
    • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 
    • Thessaloniki, Greece, 
    • The Hague, The Netherlands
    • Cape Town, South Africa  

    This tournament is seen as the most important tournament in our community because it brings together the best and brightest minds from all over the world to compete and talk about how to deal with some of the most pressing issues facing our global community. The world tournament allows students to meet and engage with students from completely different religious, economic, and political backgrounds.

    Through these cross cultural experiences students are able to reexamine their own beliefs and are forced to think outside of their own limited understandings. When talking about United States foreign policy on the use of drones in the Middle East, our students are able to learn from student living in those countries about what the reality of those decision look like and not just what our media or government tells us. We are allowing students to gain new and different perceptive, not in the goal of changing their mind on these issues but to become more informed.

  • Our History

    Clemson University has a rich history of academic excellence as well as national recognition for its collegiate achievements. The value Clemson places on its academic reputation is demonstrated by its continued support for the Clemson University Debate Society, originally called the Calhoun Forensics Societywhen it was founded as the first student organization on campus in 1894Since its origins, the Calhoun Forensics Societyhas gone through many changes. What started as a debate centered program went through ebbs and flows from debate, to individual events (speech), and back again. There was a lack of consistency on what the Calhoun Forensics Societyfocused on depending on who was the director of the program at that time. Through most of the 2000’s, the Calhoun Forensics Society focused mainly on speech, until the program temporary ended in the spring of 2012 to look for a new director.

    In the fall of 2012 the Communication Department hired Lindsey Dixon as the new Director of Forensics to realign the program from individual events team into a debate program. This restoration came from donors who had competed during the 70s-80s and wanted to restore the program back to debate. 

    From there, Lindsey recruited 12 students and competed in the National Educational Debate Association (NEDA). Within the first year this new program won almost every tournament in their division and ended up hosting and winning the NEDA National Championship. Towards the end of their first year, Lindsey knew she had to make a change because her students had done so well this past year, which is when the team turned to British Parliamentary (BP)style of debate. Since then we have solely been competing in BP. 

    From 2012 to the present, we have established Clemson University as one of the most skilled and accomplished debate teams in the country. We travel across the country and the world to represent Clemson’s academic prestige and we could not be happier with what our students have accomplished. We are also so proud to continue the long history of debate at Clemson University.

  • Our Awards
    • National Educational Debate Association National Debate Champion Sweepstakes Winner
    • Semi Finalist at Novice Nationals 2018
    • Novice Champion of Pan-American Debating Championship 2018
    • 2 Novice Finalist of Pan-American Debating Championship 2018
    • ACC Debate Finalist 2018
    • ACC top 5 speaker 2018
    • Finalist at Pan-Pacific Championship 2018
    • Semi Finalist at Pan-Pacific Championship 2018
    • Finalist at International Debate Academy in Slovenia 2017
    • Semi Finalist at International Debate Academy in Slovenia 2017
    • Open Semi Finalist at Huber Debate 2017
    • Top Ten Speaker at Huber Debate 2017
    • Champion of University of North Georgia 2017
    • Semi Finalist University North Georgia 2017
    • Novice Champions at University Denver 2017
    • Novice Finalist at University of Denver 2017
    • Novice Semi Finalist at University of Denver 2017
    • Novice Quarterfinalist University of Denver 2017
    • British Parliamentary National tournament 5th Place Novice division
    • Quarterfinalist teams at the Huber tournament
    • Quarterfinalist teams at the Huber tournament
    • Semifinal teams at the Pan Pacific Championship
    • Semifinal teams at the Pan Pacific Championship
    • Finalist at the United States Air Force Academy Debate Tournament
    • Quarterfinalist teams at the Unites States Air Force Academy Debate
    • Quarterfinalist teams at the Unites States Air Force Academy Debate
    • Semifinalist at Novice Nationals Ithaca
    • Semifinalist at Novice Nationals Ithaca
    • Quarterfinalist at Novice Nationals Ithaca
    • Quarterfinalist at Novice Nationals Ithaca
    • Fifth best Speaker at Novice Nationals Ithaca
    • Third best Speaker at Novice Nationals Ithaca
    • Semifinalist at the Budapest Open (Top breaking American team)
    • Semifinalist at the Pan American Championship
    • Quarterfinalist at the Pan American Championship
    • Quarterfinalist at the Pan American Championship
    • Finalist at the International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • Semifinalist teams at the International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • Semifinalist teams at the International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • One Quarterfinalist team at the International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • Top Speaker International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • Third place Speaker International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • British Parliamentary Purdue Crossroads Novice Champions
    • Finalist at Purdue Crossroads
    • Finalist at Purdue Crossroads
    • Finalist at Louisiana Tech
    • Finalist at Louisiana Tech
    • Finalist at Louisiana Tech
    • Semifinalist at Louisiana Tech
    • Ball State Classic Sweepstakes Winner
    • Dayton University Champion Sweepstakes Winner
    • Anderson University Champion Sweepstakes Winner
    • Top speaker at the International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • Third place speaker at International Debate Academy Slovenia
    • Ball State NEDA Nationals 2nd top speaker Varsity Policy
    • Ball State NEDA nationals 3rd top speaker Varsity Policy
    • Ball Sate NEDA nationals 6th top speaker Varsity Policy
    • Ball State NEDA nationals 8th top speaker Varsity Policy
    • Ball State NEDA semifinalist Varsity Policy
    • Ball State NEDA semifinalist Varsity Policy
    • Ball State Classic Second team Varsity Policy
    • Ball State Classic Fourth place Varsity Policy
    • Ball State Classic Top team Novice Policy
    • Ball State Classic Second place Novice Policy
    • Ball State Classic semifinalist Novice Policy
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals first place Novice Policy
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals second place Novice Policy
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals second place Varsity Policy
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals third place Varsity Policy
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals first place Varsity Crossfire
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals first place Novice Crossfire
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals second place Novice Crossfire
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals third place Novice Crossfire
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals fourth place Novice Crossfire
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals top Novice Speaker Policy
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals second place Novice Speaker
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals third place Novice Speaker
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals fourth place Novice Speaker
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals first place Varsity Speaker
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals third place Varsity Speaker
    • Clemson NEDA Nationals fourth place Varsity Speaker
    • Dayton University Finalist at Varsity Policy
    • Dayton University Finalist Novice Policy
    • Dayton University Finalist Novice crossfire
    • Dayton University Top Speaker Varsity Policy
    • Dayton University second Speaker Varsity Policy
    • Dayton University third place Speaker Varsity Policy
    • Dayton University fifth place Varsity Speaker Policy
    • Dayton University seventh place Varsity Speaker Policy
    • Dayton University Second place speaker Varsity Policy
    • Dayton University Third place speaker at Novice Crossfire
    • Anderson University First place speaker Varsity Policy
    • Anderson University Second place speaker Varsity Policy
    • Anderson University Third place speaker Varsity Policy
    • Anderson University Fourth place speaker Varsity Policy
    • Anderson University First place speaker Novice Policy
    • Anderson University Second place speaker Novice Policy
    • Anderson University Third place speaker Novice Policy
    • Anderson University Top Novice Value
    • Anderson University second place Novice Value
    • Anderson University fourth place Novice Value
    • Anderson University Top Varsity Team Value
    • Anderson University second place Varsity Team Value
    • Anderson University fifth place Varsity Team Value
  • What Debate Alumni Say
    My experience with Clemson Debate was the single most rewarding, enjoyable, and useful part of my undergraduate experience. Debate is a unique opportunity to hone your critical thinking, communication, and global awareness skills in the company of others who are attempting to do the same. The activity teaches you to analyze the world in an entirely new way. As a law student, I am extremely grateful that Clemson Debate afforded me the opportunity to build the skills that I draw on every day. Even beyond that, though, the Clemson University Debate Team is a family. The sense of community that arises as students practice, travel, and learn together in this environment is one of a kind. I have made many life-long friends through the team, and I believe that the sense of community, friendship, and support that one finds with Clemson Debate is unparalleled. Marina Shew | Clemson University Class of 2018 | Student at Columbia Law School
    The Clemson Debate Team was the cornerstone of my college career. The program is beneficial not just in terms of academic growth, but also because it facilitates personal growth. My four years with the Team taught me how to think critically and organize those thoughts into cohesive oral arguments while simultaneously instilling in me the courage to speak my mind before my peers. We traveled both domestically and internationally, from some of the U.S.’s top colleges to universities in Serbia, Malaysia, and Greece. The travel experience we gained, coupled with the cultural immersion that comes with engaging with different people, helped inform our arguments and transform our speeches into well-rounded narratives. Perhaps most importantly, the close knit nature of the Team gave me some of my most cherished friendships.The experience of being on the Clemson Debate Team has benefitted me outside of college, as well. It’s a consistent talking point in interviews, and my current employer cited it as part of the reason I was hired. Now, after graduating with degrees in Women’s Leadership and Spanish Language, I work as a Policy Analyst at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. The critical thinking and close reading skills I honed in debate have been invaluable in succeeding in this position. I can’t recommend the program highly enough. Rachael Savage | Class of 2017 | Women’s Leadership | Spanish Language, BA
    I believe that there are moments in everyone's lives that change us. There are events that we can look back on and draw distinct lines between the "before" and the "after", times that define who we are ultimately going to be. That event for me was a meeting with Lindsey on a nondescript weekday in October of my freshman year. Somehow, I left that casual meeting having agreed to get in the debate van a week later to watch a debate tournament at Yale. I couldn't have known then how impactful that one meeting would be, how vital to my core being debate would eventually become to me. Debate taught me to evaluate my beliefs, to always approach problems from every perspective, and to keep myself informed about more than just my little world. The hard skills debate gave me have helped me dominate job interviews and think quickly on my feet in any professional situation. Debate gave me incredible world adventures, friends hundreds of miles away (and much smarter than myself), and it ultimately gave me the people who are my family. There is nothing more important to me than debate and the people it gave me. I can only hope that I'll have the chance to be a part of this crazy, wonderful, brilliant community forever. Whatever you do, just join. It may not change your life the way it did for me, but I can promise you that you'll learn more about yourself and your place in the world than you ever have before. Kelsea Schulenberg | Class of 2017 | Intellectual Property Legal Assistant
    I joined Clemson Debate as one of the first members when the team started over 6 years ago. I had the privilege to help shape and to see the team grow from its infancy to the institution it is today. Without a doubt, being part of the team played a critical part in who I am today. If college is a time for growing and learning from your peers and mentors, there is no better embodiment of that than the debate community. Through Clemson Debate I grew as a student, a person, and a global citizen. It expanded my worldview and gave me tools around critical thinking and structured communication that I use every single day. Clemson Debate was a critical part of my college experience for many reasons, most importantly of which; through Clemson Debate, I found my Clemson family. Arjun Aggarwal | Class of 2016
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the Clemson Debate Society?
    The Clemson Debate Society competes in national and international debate competitions. We compete in British Parliamentary style of debate.

    When/Where do you travel?
    Our travel season starts in late August and goes until mid-April. We have three different types of travel opportunities: 1. Driving: We travel all up and down the East Coast and anyone willing to get in a van for 12 hours is able to attend. 2. Domestic flights: We fly all across the country and these trips are for our more competitive teams along with teams who demonstrate hard work and real promise in practice. 3. International Tournaments: This is saved for our most competitive teams to go out and represent Clemson University on a global scale.

    What are the costs?
    The Clemson Debate Society pays for students’ transportation to and from tournaments, hotels, and the tournament registration fees. Some tournaments provide food with our registration fees but others do not, so students sometimes just have to cover food cost.

    What are the requirements to be on the team?
    To be on the Clemson Debate Society you must be a Clemson University student with at least a 2.5 GPA.

    What is the time commitment?
    Commitment levels vary depending on the student. We have one hour meetings on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights as well as a full practice debate every Sunday.

    Do I have to miss class to go to tournaments?
    For regular season tournaments, students might have to occasionally miss class depending on the tournaments they attend. All absences that occur as a result of traveling to a Debate Tournament are excused university absences.

    What are the benefits of being on the team?
    Being a member of the Clemson University Forensics Team has many benefits. Building your critical thinking skills, gaining a lot more knowledge about the world around you, and learning the power of your own voice. Additionally, this activity gives students opportunities to travel, create friends on the team and friends from other schools, and it is a great resume booster. Students can also receive course-credit for being on the team.

    Do you have scholarships?
    Yes, we have scholarship money (called grant-in-aid money) for dedicated members of the team to cover all international travel trips. The scholarship money, we feel, is best used to help students compete at some of the most important international debate tournaments around the world.

    Contact us
    Interesting in finding out more about our program? Want to join the team? Want to donate and help support our students? Please contact our Coach Lindsey Dixon at lcdixon24@gmail.com

Study Abroad

Department of Communication Study Abroad

Clemson University students are strongly encouraged to make study abroad part of their Clemson experience. A study abroad program provides unique opportunities for student growth and development. Whether students participate in a month-long summer program, a semester-long study, or go abroad for an entire year, the lessons and new perspectives remain long after graduation. Our students return to Clemson with an enhanced knowledge of and a better appreciation for how communication functions in an increasingly diverse world. Students consistently report that study abroad is a life-changing experience.

Clemson offers a wide array of study abroad programs for students to explore, including faculty-led programs, independent study programs, and exchange partnerships with international universities. For students interested in Communication, there are two faculty-led study abroad options.

  • Strategic Communication in Germany
    Clemson students standing in front of the iconic Brandenburg Gate which stands near the national parliament building in Berlin.

    The strategic communication study abroad program in Germany has been a core part of the Department of Communication’s study abroad offerings since 2014. Students on this program take two courses – COMM 3550: Principles of Public Relations and COMM 3070: Public Communication of Science and Technology. COMM 3070 examines the role of science and technology in society from a communication perspective. Particular attention is paid to this dynamic in the arts, government and advertising. Students examine an array of theoretical issues and case studies in this area, with a focus on German culture and history. In COMM 3550, students examine principles and practices of public relations. This includes topics such as media relations, crisis management, planning and publicity for special events, and institutional advertising – all in the context of international business from a German-American perspective.

    Over the course of four weeks, students on this program can earn six credits of upper-level Communication coursework. Students interested in a COMM minor can complete nearly half of the coursework on this program. In the first two weeks of the program, students visit Stuttgart, the southern capitol of the state of Baden-Württemberg. During the second two weeks, time is spent in Berlin, the national capitol, situated in the heart of former East Germany. Students experience a blend of cultural excursions, such as the well-preserved baroque palace of Ludwigsburg. Students in this program learn from professionals such as the content marketing experts at AlphaPool in Berlin. Students also gain insight into global strategic communication with corporate visits at sites like the BMW Motorcycle factory in Berlin or the Mercedes-Benz arena in Stuttgart. For more on this program, check out the student-built website at https://cuingermany.wordpress.com/past-trips/.

  • General Education Communication in Ireland
    Clemson students attend Bloomsday  A commemoration and celebration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce, observed annually in Dublin and elsewhere on June 16.

    The program in Ireland is focused on Communication general education. To this end, students take COMM 1800: Introduction to Cross-Cultural Communication and COMM 1070: Media Representations of Media and Technology. These courses provide frameworks within which students can learn and develop in a global context, while also meeting multiple general education requirements, including the humanities non-literature, STS, and CCA credits. The goal of this program is to provide opportunities for engaged global learning. This general education offering provides an avenue for global student engagement at a point in the academic timeline when programs are not typically offered.

    Situated in Dublin, Ireland, the location is ideal for several reasons. First, there is no need for foreign language proficiency. Students can study and travel with confidence in their ability to communicate with minimal difficulty with local residents. Secondly, Dublin is a wonderful location for students to explore cross-cultural differences. In part because of the shared language, students are much less likely to inadvertently offend by violating cultural norms.

    The program in Ireland is custom-tailored to provide students a range of cultural experiences, built on a strong foundation of general education coursework.

Lambda Pi Eta

Lambda Pi Eta

Lambda Pi Eta (ΛΠE) is the national communication honor society sponsored by the National Communication Association.

Its name represents what Aristotle described as the three modes of persuasion: Logos meaning logic; Pathos relating to emotion; and Ethos defined as character and ethics.

Induction requirements are 60 hours with a 3.0 GPA; 12 hours in communication with a 3.25 GPA; demonstrated commitment to the field of communication; and be in good standing. Contact Lambda Pi Eta Advisor, Lori Pindar, for more information.

Contact Lambda Pi Eta Advisor

Public Relations Student Society of America

Clemson Public Relations Student Society of America

The Clemson Chapter of The Public Relations Student Society of America is a student lead organization on campus who also operates under the national Public Relations Society of America.

Our purpose is to inform our members and others about public relations and help students establish a relationship with professionals in the field. We bring established speakers to campus and set up informal question and answer sessions with local professionals.

Clemson PRSSA Website 

Tiger SpeakOut

Tiger SpeakOut

The Tiger SpeakOut competition gives students in COMM 1500 and COMM 2500 the opportunity to present their persuasive speeches for a chance to win up to $500. The competition takes place at the end of each fall and spring semester. This student competition presents an excellent opportunity to practice your public speaking skills. Also, placing in the competition is an outstanding resume builder. Finally, all final round contestants will win CASH prizes.

  • How to Enter

    First, you must submit your speech outline and an application. Click on the “About” link for more information. From the outlines submitted, judges will select the speakers competing in the preliminary round. From the speakers in the preliminary round, six will be chosen as finalists, all of whom will win cash prizes. The final round of the competition takes place on the Wednesday before final exams each semester. To enter the competition for your chance to win $500, you must

    • Download the entry form, and fill it out.
    • Attach a copy of your Final Preparation Outline and APA Bibliography.
    • Place your entry in the Tiger SpeakOut Mailbox outside the office of 401 Strode Tower.

    Entry Form

  • Awards and Cash Prizes

    1st place: Tiger Speakout Winner $500.

    2nd place: J. Lewis Cromer Award $250.

    3rd place: Steve Griffith Award $125.

    4th place: Elizabeth Garrison Award $50.

    5th place: $25.

    6th place: $25.

Department of Communication
Department of Communication | 408 Strode Tower