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21 February 2006

News from Vermont Debate AKA The Voice of Edwin is the weekly newsletter of the Edwin Lawrence Debate Union at the University of Vermont, an endowed co-curricular program which trains students in debating and sponsors national competition and community events. The newsletter is published every Tuesday during the school year and infrequently at other times. Alfred C. Snider is the Director. 802-656-0097 voice, 802-238-8345 mobile, 802-656-4275 fax, alfred.snider@uvm.edu email, and http://debate.uvm.edu/ldu.html web site. To unsubscribe from the email version of the newsletter go to http://list.uvm.edu/archives/topicnews.html .

TOO MUCH SUCCESS
Debate team faces inadequate resources as a result of success and popularity among students


| They want to debate -- Debaters going to West Point tournament pose at office back door |

The average size of a college policy debate team in America is a little over eight active students attending debate tournaments. For the Lawrence Debate Union at the University of Vermont that number seems ridiculous. With the largest contingent of debating students in the nation (now at 44) Vermont debate has a cadre of dedicated students who love debate and want to engage in it at more tournaments and in a more active way. The word spreads that debate is a great way to enhance academics, meet the most intelligent and engaging people on campus and have a lot of fun in the process. Students regularly report that they join the debate program because they are looking for something more rigorous and challenging than what they are finding in the classroom and in other activities. Students see others benefiting and enjoying involvement, so they try it as well.

There are drawbacks to this popularity, however. First, the coaching staff is extremely overworked and stretched far too thin, making it difficult to give everyone the attention they deserve. The younger debaters need more attention, so often the more experienced debaters, trying to win at the top national level of competition, do not get the training and coaching they deserve. Likewise, if more attention is paid to the more experienced debaters the new students cannot get off to a good start in what is the most challenging, difficult, intense and preparation-demanding debate format in the world -- USA policy debate. Second, the budget can only stretch so far. The endowment is secure but not large enough to finance the kind of travel and competition opportunities students really deserve. Difficult trade-offs have to be made, such as canceling national level tournaments that varsity debaters need and richly deserve. Third, the economies that are called for can be difficult and vexing. Whether it is being packed tightly in a van (maximum ten for safety -- but lots of luggage) or sleeping six to a room (sleeping bags are advised on all trips) or driving when prudence would call for flying or staying in "lower end" hotels it makes the whole process more difficult and certainly wears down students over the expanse of the competitive season. The coaches especially feel the pinch, and after many years of sleeping on the floor of cheap hotel rooms and driving long stretches after the last day at the tournament, it makes one wonder why and how they continue given how little they are paid. "I travel an average of 130 days a year for debate," notes LDY director Snider, "and that is my life, but for our other coaches, judges and alumni it becomes difficult. I admire them for sticking with it, but it makes me feel a bit sad -- we should be able to do more for them, and for our students." Fourth, there is a sense of a "lack of gratitude" that many in Vermont Debate feel. The university boasts of its debate program, and rightfully so, but often acts as what some describe as a "free rider." "Many debaters and alumni feel disappointed that the University brags about debate, but does not support it in any tangible way," commented Snider. "While the Theatre Department has been as supportive as they can be, I cannot remember a significant financial contribution to the debate team outside of the endowment in my 24 years here. It seems that for all we do and the way we are used, there should be a bit more support. A handshake and a congratulation and some warm words are nice and appreciated, but it doesn't get the hotel rooms or pay the entry fees." Fifth, there is real sacrifice on the part of students. The $10 a day meal allowance was adopted in 1982 and it has not gone up in all that time. Of course, the cost of eating has accelerated during that time. The result is that for students of limited means who use meal points to eat while on-campus have a more difficult time debating given their inability to fund their food while on the road.

One answer would be to construct the program to exist at a static size and have students audition to be part of the team. That would make sure that funding and participation levels match. This is what many debate programs do. "I find that option highly problematic," said Snider, "and it would violate what I understand to be Lawrence's real goal in making his endowment -- providing a way for students to be empowered by debating. In the memory of Lawrence and Huber, I can't make the debate program merely a way to win more trophies. Trophies are fine, and we win them, but our real goal should be the empowerment, growth and development of everyone involved in the program. I am not sure I can come up with a 'worthy of being empowered' test for an audition exercise."

There are answers, and the team is doing what it can. Every possible economy is explored and students are willing to make sacrifices in many different ways. Other sources of funding (like student government) are explore) but are limited. "We can ask for money, but we don't get what we really need," commented LDU treasurer Matt Silverman, who has worked hard to expand SGA funding of debate. "There are limits to what we can use SGA funds for," noted Snider, "with airfare being almost impossible to get and meal money out of the question." This year the team applied for and received grants from the UN Foundation to hold public events linked to the topics of the UN-USA relationship and world problems, but of the $2500 promised only $500 has materialized. "They say it is coming and I appreciate that," said Snider, "but a few more months of 'the check is in the mail' is not going to get us to Dallas for CEDA Nationals."

The best answer is a vigorous and long-term fundraising effort. The next three years will involve a strong effort to boost immediate funds as well as expand the endowment so that future debaters will have more opportunities and fewer deprivations. "The debate program is changing the lives of so many students every day," noted Snider, "that it is a fabulous investment in a better future and the people who can make it happen. If you are a former debater, remember what Edwin Lawrence's gift did for you, and think about whether it is your time to do your part for current and future debaters."


FUNDRAISING DRIVE CONTINUES

Contributions began to appear in the mailbox at Huber House. Numerous alumni have contacted us about making a contribution soon, but checks arrived from Katherine (Koller) Tosi, who described debate as "the longest love of my life" and also from Abbey Trebilcock and Jake Ricker-Gilbert. Andrea Amicangelo (Looby) and others report that donations are on the way. All amounts are welcome, every bit helps, and every penny will be well-spent.
Alumni are encouraged to contribute $400, which will be used to buy a plane ticket to CEDA Nationals in Dallas. Don't make them stay at home when they should be debating!
Meetings are being held with the Vermont Community Foundation to enable alumni to make larger gifts that will become an endowment to support Vermont Debate that will be housed at VCF.
Please make checks payable to "UVM Debate." You can mail them to Lawrence Debate Union, 475 Main Street, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405. Gifts are tax deductible.
Gifts can now be made online at https://alumni.uvm.edu/giving/support.asp , but please make sure to designate your gift for "Debate."
If you would like to talk about a major gift or a bequest you should contact Randy Wilson who is our contact in Development, and you can contact him by phone - Desk: 802/656-4253, Cell: 802/598-3961, Toll Free: 888/458-8691, Fax: 802/656-8678, or by e-mail: randy.wilson@uvm.edu.


EAST REGIONALS, NDT DISTRICT 8 QUALIFIER NEXT WEEKEND
THE END OF THE YEAR WE HAVE BEEN PREPARING FOR IS HERE!

Western Connecticut State University is our next destination as they host the CEDA East Regional Championship tournament along with the National Debate Tournament qualifier for New England and New York state.
Teams trying to qualify for the NDT: Hitchcock & Landsman-Roos, Harlow & Keller, Fletcher & Kimerer.
JV: Whiting & Clark, Bates & Lynn
Novice: Brown & Backus, Lalemand & Thibault, Frank & Rodolfo, and Lavallee & Jokajtys.
Judges/Coaches: Snider, Helen & Justin Morgan Parmett, Kern, Knops, Ethan Nelson, Sanders, Skrt, Silverman

VAN #1 AT 11 AM: MATT J. DRIVER, STEFFI, TAYLOR, MEGAN, HELEN, NAKOBE, JUSTIM MP
VAN #2 3:30 PM: BRADY DRIVER, DAVE B DRIVER, JUSTIN B, NCK, LESLIE, ETHAN B, NOAH, ETHAN N
VAN #3: CHASE DRIVER, JASON DRIVER, EMILY, SHANE, JOSID, MANDY, SAM. JEN K, MATT S.

BRING SLEEPING BAGS BECAUSE WE WILL BE IN EXTREME ECONOMY MODE!

THANKS TO WESTERN CONNECTICUT DEBATE FOR DONATION OF THREE HOTEL ROOMS! WE WILL REMEMBER THEIR GENEROUSITY!


LDU TRAVEL SCHEDULE FOR 2005-2006

SEMESTER ONE Record Placed SEMESTER TWO

10/1-2 BUFFALO 32-36 1-3-5
10/15-16 UVM SCRIMMAGE
10/21-23 WEST POINT 50-59 1-5-9-9
10/29-31 HARVARD 4-4
11/04-06  CAP CITY DC 7-11
11/12-14 WAKE FOREST 7-9
11/13-14 UMASS 21-21
11/18-26 INTL DEBATE ACADEMY 10-3 1-3         

1/3-5 NORTH TEXAS 12-18 9
11/7-10  TEXAS-DALLAS 13-17 9
1/28-30 BARD 24-34 3-5-5
2/11-12  BINGHAMTON 33-29 1-5-5-9
2/25-26  D8/CEDA EAST WEST CT  
3/3-5  NOV/JV NATS WEST VIRGINIA UNIV.  
3/23-27  NDT NORTHWESTERN 
3/31-4/03 CEDA NATS DALLAS


FLASHPOINT TELEVISION

Watch Flashpoint from your computer screen whenever you want! You will need RealPlayer installed on your computer to become a part of our growing audience. Here are some recent programs now available at http://debate.uvm.edu/flashpoint.html. Watch on Burlington Channel 15 Tuesday 12:30 PM, Thursday 10 PM, Saturday 1 PM.
Next taping: AFTER WEST VIRGINIA.
Zoe Anderson is the topic and program coordinator.



NOTES FROM MONDAY NIGHT'S 6 PM MEETING:

DATE FOR THE BANQUET -- APRIL 29 COORDINATION BY HITCHCOCK.

RESEARCH ASSIGNMENTS: DUE BY THURSDAY.

UNLESS THE SEMINAR ROOM IS RESPECTED MORE WE MAY LOSE IT AS A WORK SPACE BECAUSE ASIAN STUDIES HAS CLASSES THEIR AND OUR STEWARDSHIP HAS BEN ABYSMAL. CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES AND OTHERS.

PRELIMINARY WEST VIRGINIA POSSE: JV NATIONSLS - MGAN-LESLIE, BRADY-STEFFI, CHASE-SHANE, MIKE M-ETHAN N, JEFFREY-SUMEET. NOVICE NATIONALS - MATT J-SAM, JUSTIN B-ETHAN B, DANIELLE-TAYLOR, DAVE B-ALEX. JUDGES/COACHES - SNIDER, HELEN & JUSTIN MORGAN PARMETT, JASON, NICK, EMILY, MORE?

CEDA NATIONALS IN DALLAS: (ASSUMING WE HAVE MONEY) NICK-JASON, STEFFI-BRADY, LESLIE-MEGAN, WE WOULD LIIKE TO TAKE AT LEAST ONE MORE TEAM.

THE PC IN THE OFFICE IS ONLY FOR EVIDENCE ARCHIVING. PLEASE USE MACS OTHERWISE.

TO JOIN THE LDU DEBATER LISTSERV GO TO http://list.uvm.edu/archives/debater.html


PRACTICE DEBATES

THUR 6 PM MANDY-JOSID VS. ALEX-JUSTIN B WITH MIKE M.

REGULAR TUNA-TEAM MEETINGS CONTINUE.

REGULAR HELEN-JUSTIN-TEAM EVENING MEETINGS CONTINUE.


ALUMNI NEWS

TRAGEDY STRIKES DOWN LDU ALUMNI SEAN FAHEY

From the San Francisco Chronicle: Sean O'Flaherty Fahey seemed to accomplish anything he set his mind to, earning three degrees in mechanical engineering, including a doctorate, working on a master's in business and studying Gaelic in honor of his Irish heritage. So when the 33-year-old Fahey went looking for a new pursuit -- something recreational -- he picked the challenging sport of surfing. He had gotten a taste for riding the waves last month during a vacation in Central America, said his mother, Bonnie Machia, and ultimately "it undid him." On Sunday, beachgoers found him unconscious after an apparent surfing accident just off San Francisco's Ocean Beach near Sloat Boulevard. A nurse who happened to be surfing there and another man tried to resuscitate Fahey but to no avail. He was pronounced dead at UCSF Medical Center shortly after 11 a.m.

Sean's friends are remembering him at http://candleboy.com/candleblog/article.php?story=2006012411263489, along with a photo archive at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexchaffee/sets/72057594053423926/. His company obviously feels the loss, as indicated by the touching post on their website, now archived as a pdf here http://debate.uvm.edu/dcpdf/seanfaheyCSANews.pdf. The obituary can be found archived here http://debate.uvm.edu/dcpdf/seanfaheyobit2006.pdf .

His company will be establishing an engineering scholarship at UVM in his memory.

"Sean loved debate and he loved people," remembered LDU director Snider, "and he seemed to accomplish what he wanted -- a great career, living in a city he loved, doing what he wanted, and most of all surrounded by a group of loving friends. Looking at the photos in the Flickr archive of his last birthday party really brought home to me how loved he was and heightens for me the tragedy of this loss."


SQUAD MEETS AT 6 PM EACH MONDAY NIGHT, 475 MAIN STREET, ALL WELCOME!


2004-2005 NOVICE DEBATE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
2004-2005 JV DEBATE NATIONAL CHAMPIONS
UVM DEBATE WAS #6 IN THE CEDA NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES FOR 2004-2005
UVM DEBATE WAS #18 IN THE CEDA NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES FOR 2003-2004
UVM DEBATE WAS #10 IN THE CEDA NATIONAL SWEEPSTAKES FOR 2002-2003

OUR RECORD
WINS
LOSSES
PERCENTAGE
PREVIOUSLY
213
241
46.9
TOTAL
213
241
46.9%
2004-2005 RECORD
323
328
 49.6%
2003-2004 RECORD
315
374
 45.7%
2002-2003 RECORD
334
384
46.5%

ALWAYS CALL IT HUBER HOUSE!