Student Debates

Calling all Student Debate Teams
Participating in the student debates at the Annual Meeting is an excellent opportunity to enhance your critical thinking and communication skills. Debating with other students and experts in the field of entomology will help you broaden your perspectives and gain insight into different viewpoints. You will also have the chance to exchange and develop arguments, which will stimulate your learning and improve your professional network. 

2024 Student Debate Theme  

2024 Debate topics include:

Topic 1: Is it feasible for entomophagy to replace vertebrate consumption in North America?

Topic 2: Are charismatic umbrella fauna helpful with biodiversity conservation?

Topic 3: Should insect collections or collecting and killing insects be a part of public education, K-12 education, or even introductory/survey course education in college?

Contact the Student Debates Committee at if you are interested in participating.  A list of required information can be found on the below guidelines.  Both teams and individuals are able to sign up.

2024 Guidelines


How do I submit to participate in the Student Debate?

Send an email to with the required information.

What documents are required to submit?

The following information is needed at the time of submission:


Option 1:
To reserve a slot for your team you must submit the following information: 

  1. A list composed of 3 to 5 team members 
  2. Name and contact information for your designated team leader (or spokesperson) who will be the primary contact for your team
  3. Name and contact information for your team advisor (include contact info in email) 
  4. A list ranking your topic preferences (1st and 2nd choice) 
  5. Completed release forms for all team members (last page of this document) 
  6. Note if the team is willing to allow an interested student to join their team 
    1. Please note that priority may be given to ESA Student Debates teams that are willing to allow an interested student to join their team.  

Option 2
To reserve a slot as an individual with the intention to join a team you must submit the following information: 

  1. Provide your name and contact information 
  2. A list ranking your topic preferences (1st and 2nd choice) 
  3. A completed release form (last page of this document) 
    1. The SDS will then follow up with students about team assignments and professional advisor assignments. 

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. They are fantastic display of knowledge, critical thinking, and public speaking skills. 

The Debates generally include three subtopics under a broader main topic selected by the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) and feature the best of ESA’s student membership. The SAC Chair will introduce the program after which the debates begin. Teams are independently judged with the winning team decided by a 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 participating members of both teams.

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 check, and trophy with their university name engraved on it. The SAC Chair, who organizes the debates, selects the judging panel (which includes students, post docs, and faculty members) that will determine the winning team.

All students taking part in the debates are “invited” speakers through university-sponsored teams. Each team is comprised of three to five members. All debate teams are required to have a formal professional advisor.

All participants in the debates are winners as this is the only program at the ESA Annual Meeting that can directly culminate in an article in ESA’s peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Insect Science. This article is published at no cost to the student authors.

View previous Debate winners
View previous Student Debates articles
View the author guidelines for Student Debates articles in the Journal of Insect Science