Josh Kwak and Elisa Vogel: Penn State Speech and Debate Society
From Emily Bush-Clark on April 16th, 2020
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The Penn State Speech and Debate Society is a club that prides itself on promoting the principles of democratic deliberation and intellectual engagement, and it is through these principles that students in the club are able to gain a whole host of interpersonal skills including argumentation, persuasion, critical thinking, and public speaking. It doesn’t matter whether one participates in speech or debate, students develop these skills in both activities.
Given the current context in which anthropogenic climate change is a forefront issue in modern politics, it is critical that students are learning more about policy-based solutions for addressing the problem as well as developing the skills necessary to engage in public deliberation. Through academic debate and the clash of arguments, students get to learn a substantial amount about the topic. This is why engaging in academic debate about these issues are so important, and this is why I am interested in presenting this project.
The audience includes students who may be interested in joining the Penn State Speech and Debate Society. Because of the nature of the club, students will be able to gain important skills in communication through participating in either speech or debate. Because those soft skills are utilized in both academic and work life, joining club can be incredibly valuable for one’s professional development regardless of their career path.
What has been the most interesting part of my participation in the club is learning about all the different types of renewable energy technologies being invested in which include small modular reactors, space-based solar power, offshore wind, and much more. All of these technologies are unique methods of generating energy while releasing nearly zero carbon emissions and are being worked on now. Because debaters rely heavily on research and evidence, we have spent countless hours on performing in-depth research into the nuances of energy policies, climate change, and renewable sources of energy. Getting a chance to learn so much about renewable energy in the United States has been an eye-opening experience and has provided me valuable knowledge on such an important topic.