Student Debates

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

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 majority vote. The winners and runners-up are recognized at the Student Awards Ceremony 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 cash, 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 faculty 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 American Entomologist.

To participate, or for more information, email

View the list of previous Student Debate winners.

View previous American Entomologist articles.

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