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.

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 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 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 peer-reviewed, open-access Journal of Insect Science. This article is published at no cost to the student authors.

2021 Debates - Transforming Entomology to Adapt to Global Concerns

Topic 1: Non-native insect introduction is an ethical approach for counteracting the proliferation and overpopulation of consumers.

Topics 2: What is the best technology to control undesirable insect pests in urban and agricultural settings?

Topic 3: Compared to other solutions, like plant-based diets, insect farming is the best method to address rising human global food and nutrient supply demand.
View the 2021 Student Debate Schedule, Instructions and Rules
To participate and sign up, or for more information, email

Congratulations to the 2020 Debate Team Winners

First Place - Topic 1: What is the best taxonomic approach to identify and classify insects?
The Ohio State University, University of Minnesota (OSU/UMN)

First Place - Topic 2: What is the best current technology to address the locust swarms worldwide?
University of Florida, Purdue, Michigan State (UF/PU/MSU) 

Best overall debate team - The Ohio State University, University of Minnesota (OSU/UMN)

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


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