Student Debates

The ESA Student Debates are lively, cross-examination-style debates held annually during ESA’s Annual Meeting. The Debates are an important educational, as well as entertaining, component of the ESA Meeting.

All students taking part in the Debates are “invited” speakers through university-sponsored teams. The Debates generally include three subtopics under a broader main topic, featuring the best of ESA’s student membership. Each team is comprised of four or five members. All teams are required to have a formal faculty advisor. Most teams typically enroll in a formal course (ESA debate) with that advisor at their respected university (one hour credit).

In recent years, a distinguished ESA scientist has been asked to introduce the program, after which the debates begin. Teams are independently judged, with the winning team decided by majority vote. The winners and runners-up are recognized at the ESA Student Awards Session, where the winners are presented with a plaque for the team, and certificates for all the participating members of both teams.

All participants in the Debates are winners, as this is the only program at the ESA Annual Meeting which can directly culminate in an article in ESA’s American Entomologist.

The winners at Entomology 2013 were:

Topic 1 - Texas A&M

Topic 2 - Louisiana State University

Topic 3 - UC Davis

Overall Runner Up - Auburn University

Overall Winner - UC Davis

The Best Debate Team Award will be awarded to the best student debate team out of all the teams participating at the National Student Debates. The winning team will receive $500 cash, and a travelling trophy to be displayed for the year with their university name engraved on it. The trophy will then be passed along to the winning team the following year. The Student Affairs Committee Chair who organizes the debates selects the judging panel (which includes students, post docs, and faculty members) that will determine the winning team.  

Click here for general Student Debate Rules and Procedures.

Click here to volunteer as a Judge.

Click here for previous American Entomologist articles.