Student Debate Rules and Procedures

Team Members

Any student wishing to participate in the debates is eligible to do so as long as he/she is in an entomology degree program (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.). He/she will need to form a team (including a faculty adviser) and contact the Student Affairs Chair as soon as the invitation for debates is out.

Submit your team to


While the actual debates take place during the ESA Annual meeting, teams are involved in the preparation for these debates for more than eight months leading up to the Annual Meeting. The debate topics and positions are randomly assigned by the Student Affairs Committee.

Debate Procedures

Total time for each debate will be approximately 45 minutes.

1. For each topic, there will be a five-minute unbiased introduction. This neutral introduction will be assigned to someone other than the two teams in a particular debate.

2. Following the unbiased introduction, there will be a seven-minute statement by the first team outlining their plan to implement the given topic. Only during this seven minute presentations are teams allowed to use Powerpoint slides. The PPT slides can contain only text (no images) and only two colors (white background and black text).

3. This will be followed by a three-minute cross-examination by the second team. This is an opportunity for the second team to clarify points made by the first team. This time is only for clarification, not for the actual debate.

4. The Second team then gives their seven-minute statement. Ideally, they will anticipate some of what the first team has to say and will have enough data researched to be able to show the flaws and problems with the first team's plan. The second team usually does not present an alternative plan, as the status quo is often the alternative.

5. The first team will then have an opportunity for a three-minute cross examination of the second team's argument. This time is also only for clarification.

6. Two-minute second team rebuttal

7. Two-minute first team rebuttal

8. Two-minute second team rebuttal

9. Two-minute first team rebuttal

10. Questions from the judges and the audience (10 minutes)

A panel of judges will evaluate each team’s argument independently and choose a winner. A draft summary of each team's position (600 words maximum), restrained to only 15 of their references, must be submitted to the Student Affairs Committee Chair prior to the meeting. Following the meeting, the team will have the chance to revise their manuscripts, which will then be compiled for submission to American Entomologist. Manuscripts should carefully follow the format of previous debate publications and American Entomologist, and must be well written and approved by the team faculty advisor. Note also that the advisor is not allowed to be a co-author of the manuscript.
Information Specifically for Student Teams
Contact the Student Debate Subcommittee of the Student Affairs committee at