Mercer University's Debate Team had one of its best-ever showings in parliamentary-style debate at the University of North Georgia in early October.
In its first tournament of the season, Oct. 3-5 in Dahlonega, the Bears earned 15 trophies and speaker awards, the most the team has ever garnered at a single tournament.
"The goal of debate is not only to out-speak, but also to out-think other schools. Every victory for the debate team represents a victory for Mercer University as a whole," said Dr. Vasile St?nescu, visiting assistant professor and director of debate.
"I am uniquely proud of our team this year. Over half of our team has joined in only the last two years; many have never debated before joining the team. Their wins are a result of their hard work, academic rigor and, most of all, belief in social justice. We're not just training good debaters or students; we're creating effective citizens."
Among the highlights, freshman Kyle Bligen was the first-place speaker in novice International Public Debate Association (IPDA) competition; senior Caleb Maier was the first-place speaker in varsity IPDA competition; freshman Jazmine Buckley and Bligen competed in the final round in novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) competition; and seniors Hunter Pilkinton and Lindsey Hancock had a perfect preliminary record in varsity NPDA competition. Additionally, freshman Kevin Lee-Alston was ranked on one of the top 12 novice teams in his first time debating.
IPDA debate primarily utilizes a one-on-one format, while NPDA debate features teams of two persons going head to head.
This was the second consecutive impressive showing for Mercer at this event, as Pilkinton and Hancock won the tournament with a perfect record last year. This year's team is composed of seniors Pilkinton, Hancock and Maier, juniors Gabriel Xavier Ramirez and Erwins Saget and freshmen Bligen, Buckley, Lee-Alston and Milan Mitchell.
The event also served as the debut of new Assistant Director of Debate Erica Eaton, a Mercer alum and former debater.
Five students in the Global Health Studies program within the College of Liberal Arts participated in the first-ever American Mock World Health Organization (AMWHO) Oct. 3-5 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Seniors Brianne Bower and Kaytlin Eldred, juniors Faith Etim and Lindsay Parker, and sophomore Nora Darling learned about global health policy, global diplomacy, resolution writing, and met and competed against undergraduate and graduate students from institutions such as Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Duke, Northwestern and Emory.
Two students won prizes: Bower, who was representing the Bangladesh Rural Action Committee, for best NGO delegate; and Darling, who was representing Italy, for best position paper for the Europe region. Bower and Darling are participants in Mercer's Honors Program.
"Participation in AMWHO was an excellent opportunity for our Global Health Studies students to apply classroom knowledge in a simulation of real-world problems," said Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo, assistant professor of international and global studies. "While none of us knew what to expect since it was the first completion, these students did a great job preparing for and participating in the conference. I was especially impressed by the contributions made by our students in writing resolutions, building consensus and advocating for change.I look forward to advising a group of Mercerians in next year's competition."