By NSD instructor, Alex Smyk
One thing debaters don’t think about in a round is how they got there. I don’t mean how they got to an obscure classroom somewhere in Cambridge at the tournament hosted by a certain inferior Ivy League university – I mean how they obtained the financial resources to attend, how the tournament was able to sift through all the bureaucracy, and how all the surrounding debate infrastructure came into place. Think about it – the costs, the red tape, the leagues; they all had to originate from somewhere, but we take them for granted.
The problem is that most of the country doesn’t have access to any of them – or even the resources and initiative to make it happen. Youth for Debate is a student organization at Columbia that teaches public speaking and debate at disadvantaged high schools across New York City. As a board member, I can tell you that it brings real change – giving to an activity that many take skills, success, and invaluable experiences from. It is currently in the process of becoming a national non-profit, so keep a head up for it near you!