By Blythe Brown
By all accounts, the 81st Mcgoun Cup, Western Canada’s championship debating tournament, was a huge success for the University of Calgary’s two Speech and Debate teams. It returned to the U of C for the first time in more than seven years on Feb. 6.
“We’re really proud of how the University of Calgary did at this tournament,” said Brent Kettles, Director, External of the club.
It appears to be a successful start to the club’s long-term goal of increasing excellence in competition and raising its profile. Out of the 22 teams, the two U of C teams grabbed third and seventh place. Individual U of C speakers grabbed first and second place for the actual debating portion and two took first and third place for public speaking. In addition, after five regular rounds of debate, two of the eight teams that broke to quarter-finals were from the U of C, doubling of last year’s performance.
Indeed, partly due to the natural cycle of club-success, the club has ballooned in membership from a miniscule three members last year to 38 members this year. However, most of the increase can be attributed to dedication in promoting the club by core members.
One of the most acute difficulties in selling the club is caused by the aversion of new and potential members to public speaking in general, which is quite normal, and can be overcome, according to experienced debaters.
Despite the recent success, there remains much work to be done. Funding for sending teams to Nationals and for the World Debate Championship will probably be a huge obstacle, according to Kettles, and will require even more members to secure SU funding.
For those who are interested, meetings are held weekly in Science Theatres 128 from 4-6 p.m.