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

2019 Debate Topics:

Synergisms in Science: Climate Change and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) through the Lens of Communication

1. How can scientists better communicate with the public to get them more engaged in Integrated Pest Management (IPM)? (Issue)

    1. Write a science summary with minimal jargon of impactful scientific articles
    2. Community outreach programs
    3. Integrate their research into Citizen Science projects
    4. Extension
    5. Social Media

2. What is the most influential impact of climate change on entomology? (Issue)

  1. Increased distribution of agricultural insect pests that decrease food production
  2. Increased economic costs at the agricultural level
  3. Increased range of medically relevant vectors that transmit disease
  4. Increased economic costs at the medical level
  5. Increased insect pest cost of treatment at the medical level

3. Sustainable Agriculture (such as Polyculture/Farmscaping/Push-Pull) is the best approach to farming when incorporating Integrated Pest Management techniques (IMP). (Pro/Con Stance)

To participate (as an unbiased introductory speaker or on the debate team), or for more information, email Please email us to express your interest in participating!

View the 2019 Student Debate Schedule, Instructions and Rules

Click here for previous Debate winners.

Click here for previous Student Debates articles.

Click here for the author guidelines for Student Debates articles in the Journal of Insect Science.


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