(L-R: Geneva Kropper, Sean Leonard, Pasha Temkin, Jeremy Kritz, Larry Feltz, David Vinarov, Naeem Hossain, Max Albert, Nick Hansen, Adarsh Rangan, Andrea Vacchiano, Matthew Maddex)
As the 2015-16 academic year has come to a close, the Rutgers University Debate Union is happy to announce that at APDA Nationals, hosted by New York University on April 22-24, we set several historic records. Our teams were as follows:
Sean Leonard ‘16/Geneva Kropper ‘16
Pasha Temkin ‘18/Max Albert ‘19
Larry Feltz ‘17/Naeem Hossain ‘18
Sean Leonard was named 19th Varsity Speaker and received the Jeff Williams award (graduating senior with the most top 10 -OTY finishes) and the Chris Porcaro award (graduating senior with the most top speaker finishes), the first timeany Rutgers debater has been so distinguished.
Max Albert was named Top Novice and Tenth Varsity Speaker. Pasha Temkin was named Second Novice and Seventeenth Varsity Speaker. Together, they broke (being the first novice/novice team in APDA history to break at Nationals!) into octofinals, placing 11th overall.
The 2015-2016 season has been a historic one for the Rutgers University Debate Union. For the first time in Rutgers history, we had two top 10 TOTY (Team of the Year) teams:
Sean Leonard ‘16 and Geneva Kropper ‘16 (6th TOTY)
Max Albert ‘19 and Pasha Temkin ‘18 (7th TOTY), the first novice-novice top 10 TOTY team in APDA history
For the first time in Rutgers history, we also had two Top 10 NOTY (Novice of the Year) finishes:
Max Albert ‘19 (2nd NOTY)
Pasha Temkin ‘18 (3rd NOTY)
For the 6th year in a row, Rutgers remains in top 10 COTY (Club of the Year)–this year, we were named Seventh Club of the Year, above teams like Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.
Sean Leonard ‘16 finished the year as the most decorated debater in the history of Rutgers Debate:
Two Top 10 SOTY (Speaker of the Year) finishes: 7th (2015) and 5th (2016)
Two Top 10 TOTY finishes: 4th (2015) and 6th (2016)
Nationals finalist (2014)
Back-to-back Nationals semifinalist (2014, 2015)
The highest individual number of COTY points of any debater (2016)
Sean Leonard ’16 graduated with a double major in Political Science and Philosophy and a minor in Economics. Sean’s presence will be missed, as will be the presences of our other graduating seniors:
Nick Hansen ‘16 finished the year tied for Twentieth Team of the Year (with Sean Leonard) – and was named 13th Novice of the Year when he began. Hansen ‘16 graduated with a degree in Political Science and a minor in History and will work in transportation.
Geneva Kropper ‘16 was ranked Sixth Team of the Year this year (with Sean Leonard) – a remarkable feat considering that the team began after the Rutgers Invitational at only the beginning of February. Kropper ‘16 graduated with a degree in Government and a minor in History and will be working in D.C.
Good luck to Sean, Nick, and Geneva! We are also excited to announce that Rutgers will be hosting and competing in Nationals next year – this is a huge honor on the APDA Circuit!
The past two weeks have been quite eventful for RUDU! The most recent tournament was at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA on March 11-12. Sean Leonard ’16 and Geneva Kropper ’16 surprised no one by debating exceptionally and garnering Third Varsity Team and getting Second and Fourth Varsity Speaker, respectively. In the novice competition, Max Albert ’19 and Pasha Temkin’18, our Vice President and President, got First and Second Place as Novice Speakers, AND broke to Varsity and was named Fifth Varsity Team! Albert ’19 and Temkin ’18 also were named Seventh and Eighth Varsity Speakers, respectively, which means that four out of the ten individual varsity speaking awards went to Rutgers, and two of the recipients were Rutgers novices! David Vinarov ’19 got his first speaking award, garnering Eighth Novice Speaker and winning Novice Finals with a debater from GW, while Jeremy Kritz ’19 was crowned Ninth Novice Speaker. RUDU was also reunited with dinos Deepta Janardhan ’14, Quinn Maingi ’15, and George Alukal ’15!
RUDU enjoyed modest success at the West Point Tournament on March 4-5. Leonard ’16 teamed up with Andrew Bowles from George Washington and placed as Fifth Varsity Team. Albert ’19 got placed as Third Novice Speaker AND Sixth Varsity Speaker, and teamed up with Temkin ’18 to be crowned Third Novice Team.
As Rutgers students enjoy Spring Break, our debaters will be preparing for a tournament at Georgetown this coming Friday and Saturday of March 18-19. Props to them for taking time out of their break to continue to keep Rutgers’ good name alive in the APDA community!
On Sunday, May 18th, Rutgers University graduated the class of 2014 at the Commencement at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway. After extensive controversy surrounding the selection of a Commencement speaker, including an initial selection of Condoleezza Rice that was debated in an enormous public debate by the Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU), former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean was selected to give this year’s Commencement Address.
In that speech, Kean praised many aspects of Rutgers University and its current graduating class. But he reserved special citation for just a few groups, including RUDU itself.
“So no matter where your journey takes you, I hope you’ll always remember: take pride in Rutgers, because you should… Your student debate team is the second-best in the country,” Kean said.
Kean’s remarks about the Debate Union come in the fourth minute of the seventeen-minute speech (including introduction).
Kean was referring to RUDU’s second-place finish at the National Championships. Kean gave special praise to Rutgers’ status as a state school. Rutgers is only the third state school ever to appear in the National Finals of the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) Championships. The United States Naval Academy (1984) won the tournament and the University of Virginia (2003) also finished second.
On Saturday, May 10th, the Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) hosted the North Star Academy’s speech and debate team for a day of competition, workshops, and collaboration. The Newark high school recently started their team, which has tried many debate and speech events this season. The contingent that attended this event was comprised almost entirely of first-years and sophomores. This is one of several collaborations with high schools that RUDU has done, after public debate exhibitions at Trenton Central High School and at Point Pleasant Borough High School.
Kurt Falk, a member of RUDU from 2011-2012, is the Assistant Coach of the North Star Academy team and helped coordinate the event. The team’s Head Coach, Jessica Ehmke, was also in attendance. They were supported by numerous current and former RUDU members who helped run the event and served as judges of the speech competition.
The competition itself consisted of short 2-4 minute speeches that the North Star students had prepared and memorized for the event. All were on the topic of a key problem facing society, as chosen by the speaker. There were several preliminary rounds, followed by a break to semifinals (12 speakers) and then finals (6 speakers), resulting in awards for the top three.
Throughout the day, rounds of competition were interspersed with a speaking workshop run by Coach Storey Clayton, a demonstration round of parliamentary debate featuring four current and former RUDU debaters (said to be the favorite event by North Star attendees), and a presentation on Rutgers University by a student representative from the Admissions program. Judges also gave rigorous and extensive feedback to each speaker after each speech they delivered.
While all competitors spoke well and improved greatly throughout the day, the winners were selected by an aggregate vote of the 9-judge panel, one that featured three APDA National Finalists. Rebecca Davis was awarded 1st Place, Akira Caruth 2nd, and Andrea Hammond 3rd.
Ultimately, the event was a great opportunity for North Star students to visit a college campus and see the inner workings of a highly successful collegiate debate team while improving their skills and having fun.
On Wednesday, May 7th, the Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) closed one of its most successful seasons of all-time with the annual Senior Banquet, held for the second year in a row upstairs in the Livingston Dining Commons. A bit less than half of the 59 students who attended at least one tournament this year went to the event, celebrating the 5th College of the Year standing for Rutgers in the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA), the trip to National Finals, and eight graduating seniors, seven of whom gave their farewell speeches to the club.
The event opened with the finals of the “Would You Push the Button?” Tournament, the new manifestation of the Ironman Tournament tradition that dates back to 2008 on RUDU. Twentieth-seed Zach Sinkiewicz won the flip and chose to Opp against second-seed Sean Leonard. Leonard carried the humorous round on a substantial decision, joining prior (2012) winner Ashley Novak as the only sophomores to win the in-house single-elimination tournament. This tournament featured a double-octofinal bracket of 32 individuals which were pared down to the finalists over the course of two weeks. Sinkiewicz was by far the lowest seed ever to make the finals, upending the fourth and top seeds en route to his second-place finish.
Senior speeches marked the most emotional portion of the night. Maxwell Williams, Daimler Vadlamuri, Adam Bomeisl, Deepta Janardhan, Alex Jubb, Gordon Morrisette, and Henry Phipps gave Senior Speeches in the midst of the four-hour program, making their farewells and recommendations to the club. Each was introduced by a close friend on the team as per tradition, who told stories about the impact of that senior on the team and its history. The respective introducers for the seven seniors were Nick Hansen, Jamie DiVito, Sean Leonard, George Alukal, Rachel Moon, Arbi Llaveshi, and Becky Ratero. Speeches ranged from funny to heartfelt, with advice that was both tough love and warm appreciation. Senior Ashley Novak, the team’s first female President and first top ten SOTY finisher, was unable to attend the Banquet.
Williams closed his speech with a senior gift for Coach Storey Clayton of a homemade “Cards Against RUDU” game, while Morrisette announced the senior gift of a six-foot RUDU banner that the senior class will be giving to the team. Janardhan also announced a plan to donate a certain amount of money to the team for every novice next year who novice breaks or earns a top ten novice speaker award, to refocus the club on recruitment and promotion of novices as well as its current varsity success. Several other seniors have since joined her pledge. Janardhan also had the honor of passing on Farhan Ali’s “Beepy Timer” award, this time choosing to pass it on to first-year Ali Ismail. The ceremonial award is given by a graduating senior on the team to a non-senior to honor their perseverance and dedication to the team. Coach Storey Clayton closed the speeches with remarks about the team and the announcement that he would likely be stepping down as Coach of RUDU at the conclusion of the year after serving for five years as Coach. He thanked many people for their contributions to the team over the years and observed the incredible rise RUDU has witnessed from obscurity in 2009 to National Finalists in 2014.
The night continued with a game of “RUDU Feud!”, a take on Family Feud about various attributes of members of the Rutgers team. The game was run by Henry Phipps and Nick Hansen. The night then concluded with Henry Phipps’ slideshow of the year, set to music, and the annual iconic team photo, seen above.
Below is a list of the members of RUDU who attended tournaments this year, all of whom contributed in some way to the success of the Debate Union who became just the third state school ever and the first in 11 years to make the National Championship Final Round.
R. Quinn Maingi
With the new season underway, we are taking the opportunity to archive last year’s accomplishments for posterity in this post. The AWARDS tab above will feature this year’s awards from now on…
Awards and Rankings – Rutgers University Debate Union 2012-2013
2012-2013 Annual Rankings
College of the Year (COTY)
Rutgers University: 3rd overall
Team of the Year (TOTY)
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter: 16th team (tie)
Quinn Maingi & Alex Jubb: 30th team
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi: 34th team (tie)
Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette: 38th team (tie)
Kurt Falk & Alex Jubb: 38th team (tie)
Chris Bergman & Sean Leonard: 45th team (tie)
Chris Bergman & Ashley Novak: 62nd team (tie)
Ashley Novak & Russell Potter: 75th team (tie)
Chris Bergman & Gordon Morrisette: 96th team (tie)
Alex Jubb & Henry Phipps: 96th team (tie)
Henry Phipps & Deepta Janardhan: 114th team (tie)
Arbi Llaveshi & Bhargavi Sriram: 134th team (tie)
Nisha Kumar & Sean Leonard: 134th team (tie)
Ashley Novak & Kurt Falk: 134th team (tie)
Speaker of the Year (SOTY)
Ashley Novak: 18th speaker
Sean Leonard: 32nd speaker (tie)
Chris Bergman: 36th speaker (tie)
Quinn Maingi: 40th speaker
Russell Potter: 50th speaker (tie)
Alex Jubb: 65th speaker (tie)
Henry Phipps: 65th speaker (tie)
Kurt Falk: 69th speaker
Adam Bomeisl: 70th speaker
Novice of the Year (NOTY)
Sean Leonard: 4th novice (tie)
Sahil Bambulkar: 43rd novice (tie)
Debaters Qualified for National Championships
Rutgers University: 7 (tied for 3rd)
(Ashley Novak, Adam Bomeisl, Russell Potter, Chris Bergman, Quinn Maingi, Alex Jubb, and Sean Leonard)
APDA’s full standings for this year can be found here.
2013 National Championships
Ashley Novak & Chris Bergman – 9th Team
Quinn Maingi & Alex Jubb – 23rd Team
Novice Speaker Results
Sean Leonard – 5th Novice Speaker
APDA’s full National Championship results can be found here.
2012-2013 Tournament Awards
Quinn Maingi & Alex Jubb – University of Albany 2013
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – Vassar College 2012
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Kurt Falk & Alex Jubb – University of Maryland Baltimore County 2012
Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette – 3rd, Harvard University 2012
Ashley Novak & Reid Bagwell [Columbia] – 3rd, Dartmouth College 2012
Chris Bergman & Sean Leonard – 3rd, College of William and Mary (II) 2013
Chris Bergman & Ilana Rice [Columbia] – 3rd, Byrn Mawr College 2013
Ashley Novak & Sean Leonard – 4th, American University (Pro-Am) 2012
Chris Bergman & Sean Leonard – 4th, Franklin and Marshall College 2013
Chris Bergman & David Reiss – 7th, Brandeis Inter-Varsity 2012 (BP style 4-team format)
Kurt Falk & Alex Jubb – 5th, College of William & Mary (I) 2012
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – 6th, University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Chris Bergman & Ashley Novak – 6th, George Washington University (II) 2013
Henry Phipps & Deepta Janardhan – 6th, University of Albany 2013
Nisha Kumar & Sean Leonard – 6th, Vassar College 2012
Quinn Maingi & Alex Jubb – 6th, Byrn Mawr College 2013
Chris Bergman & Ashley Novak – 7th, Brandeis University 2013
Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette – 7th, University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – 7th, The College of New Jersey 2013
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – 7th, University of Pittsburgh 2012
Ashley Novak & Russell Potter – 8th, Princeton University 2013
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – 8th, George Washington University (I) 2012
Chris Bergman & Gordon Morrisette – 8th, Dartmouth College 2012
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – 8th, University of Albany 2013
Ashley Novak & Kurt Falk – 8th, Vassar College 2012
Arbi Llaveshi & Bhargavi Sriram – 8th, University of Pittsburgh 2012
Alex Jubb & Henry Phipps – West Point 2013 (incorrectly denied break by tabulation error)
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 9th, Swarthmore College 2013
Adam Bomeisl & Russell Potter – 9th, George Washington University (II) 2013
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 11th, Princeton University 2013
Quinn Maingi & Arbi Llaveshi – 11th, George Washington University (II) 2013 Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette – 12th, North American Championships 2013
Ashley Novak & Gordon Morrisette – 12th, Columbia University 2012
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 14th, Harvard University 2012
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 14th, Columbia University 2012
Sean Leonard & Dan Cobos [GW] – 14th, New York University 2013 Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 15th, North American Championships 2013
Adam Bomeisl & Kyle Bomeisl – 15th, Princeton University 2013
Ashley Novak & Sean Leonard – 16th, Boston University 2013
Tournament Top Ten Teams
Kurt Falk & Alex Jubb – 9th, University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Chris Bergman & Quinn Maingi – 9th, Vassar College 2012
Ashley Novak & Henry Phipps – 10th, University of Connecticut 2013
Kurt Falk & Alex Jubb – 10th, University of Pittsburgh 2012
Arbi Llaveshi & Rachel Moon – 10th, Vassar College 2012
Tournament Top Speakers
Quinn Maingi – University of Albany 2013
Sean Leonard – Vassar College 2012
Tournament Top Ten Speakers
Ashley Novak – 2nd, American University (Pro-Am) 2012
Ashley Novak – 2nd, University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Ashley Novak – 3rd, Columbia University 2012
Chris Bergman – 3rd, University of Maryland Baltimore County 2012 Ashley Novak – 4th, North American Championships 2013
Chris Bergman – 4th, Franklin and Marshall College 2013
Alex Jubb – 4th, University of Maryland Baltimore County 2012
Henry Phipps – 4th, University of Albany 2013
Russell Potter – 4th, Vassar College 2012
Ashley Novak – 5th, Harvard University 2012
Sean Leonard – 5th, Franklin and Marshall College 2013
Kurt Falk – 5th, College of William & Mary (I) 2012
Adam Bomeisl – 5th, University of Albany 2013
Russell Potter – 6th, The College of New Jersey 2013
Ashley Novak – 6th, Vassar College 2012
Adam Bomeisl – 6th, University of Pittsburgh 2012
Chris Bergman – 6th, Brandeis Inter-Varsity 2012 (BP style 4-team format)
Ashley Novak – 7th, George Washington University (II) 2013
Russell Potter – 7th, University of Albany 2013
Chris Bergman – 8th, University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Chris Bergman – 9th, Princeton University 2013
Ashley Novak – 9th, Brandeis University 2013
David Reiss – 9th, Brandeis Inter-Varsity 2012 (BP style 4-team format)
Quinn Maingi – 10th, Harvard University 2012
Gordon Morrisette – 10th, University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Chris Bergman – 10th, Swarthmore College 2013
Quinn Maingi – 10th, The College of New Jersey 2013
Chris Bergman – 10th, West Point 2013
Ashley Novak – 10th, University of Connecticut 2013
Alex Jubb – 10th, College of William & Mary (I) 2012
Arbi Llaveshi – 10th, Vassar College 2012
Tournament Novice Champions
Sean Leonard & Meryem Uzumcu – University of Pittsburgh 2012
Tournament Novice Finalists
Sean Leonard & Meryem Uzumcu – Johns Hopkins University 2012
Sean Leonard & Sahil Bambulkar – College of William & Mary (I) 2012
Tournament Novice Semifinalists
Gabi Cozzolino & Becky Ratero – 4th, University of Connecticut 2013
Stine-Oksana Soomai & George Alukal – 5th, New York University 2013 [top two teams broke to varsity outrounds]
Denise Costanzo & Daniel Takash [Johns Hopkins] – 5th, Byrn Mawr College 2013
Tournament Novice Quarterfinalists
Sean Leonard & Raynee Morris – 7th, George Washington University (I) 2012
Tournament Top Ten Novice Teams
Kira Kaur & Sahil Bambulkar – 5th, Johns Hopkins University 2012
Sean Leonard & Raynee Morris – 5th, Princeton University 2013
Gabi Cozzolino & Katerina Dimitrusheva – 8th, Boston University 2013
Sean Leonard & Sahil Bambulkar – 9th, Swarthmore College Novice 2012
Tournament Top Novice Speakers
Sean Leonard – Franklin and Marshall College 2013
Sean Leonard – Vassar College 2012
Sean Leonard – Swarthmore College Novice 2012
Tournament Top Ten Novice Speakers
Sean Leonard – 2nd, George Washington University (I) 2012
Sean Leonard – 2nd, Dartmouth College 2012
Sean Leonard – 2nd, University of Pittsburgh 2012
Sean Leonard – 2nd, College of William and Mary (II) 2013
Sahil Bambulkar – 3rd, American University (Pro-Am) 2012
Sean Leonard – 3rd, West Point 2013
Sean Leonard – 3rd, College of William & Mary (I) 2012
Sean Leonard – 4th, New York University 2013
Sean Leonard – 4th, Byrn Mawr College 2013
Sean Leonard – 4th, Brandeis Inter-Varsity 2012 (BP style 4-team format)
Sean Leonard – 5th, Johns Hopkins University 2012
Sean Leonard – 5th, Boston University 2013
Sean Leonard – 5th, Swarthmore College 2013 Sean Leonard – 7th, North American Championships 2013
Sean Leonard – 7th, Harvard University 2012
Sean Leonard – 7th, George Washington University (II) 2013
Raynee Morris – 8th, The College of New Jersey 2013
Gabi Cozzolino – 8th, University of Connecticut 2013
Stine-Oksana Soomai – 8th, New York University 2013
Sean Leonard – 9th, University of Maryland (College Park) 2012
Katerina Dimitrusheva – 10th, College of William and Mary (II) 2013
APDA’s full tournament results for this year can be found here.
The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) will kick off what looks to be the most successful season in its history with a meeting tonight at 9:00 PM in Murray Hall 210. Murray Hall is on Voorhees Mall on the College Avenue Campus in New Brunswick. You can see the location on a campus map here.
RUDU meets twice weekly throughout the school year on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:00 PM. Meetings consist of team business, signing up for tournaments, practice rounds, and sometimes drills. Tonight’s meeting will have special information for new debaters, including an overview of parliamentary debate and the opportunity to see a demonstration round. New members are encouraged to attend tonight to get the training aimed at new debaters, but people can start attending meetings at any point during the season.
The 2013-2014 season opens at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore with a tournament that will involve around 80 teams from all over the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) circuit. The second tournament will be at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Sign-ups for both of these tournaments will be taken at tonight’s meeting.
RUDU finished last year ranked third in the nation, behind only Yale and Brandeis and ahead of Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia. This year, the team expects to contend for one of the top three spots, possibly moving up with the fewest graduating seniors who qualified for Nationals last year among the top three schools. Six of the seven national qualifiers at RUDU last season are back for this year.
There are debate tournaments every weekend through early December (with the exception of Thanksgiving) and all next term from mid-January to the National Championships in late April. Rutgers debaters may attend as many or as few tournaments as they like, depending on their schedule.
The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) held its largest ever Novice Retreat over the last three days at the School of Communication and Information (SC&I) on the College Avenue Campus in New Brunswick. From Wednesday, August 28th through today, 43 new recruits to the Debate Union gathered with two coaches and nine varsity debaters for an intensive and fun training, including workshops, games, demonstration rounds, and lots of practice.
The first Retreat to have more than 30 attendees, this one had over forty people show up on the first day and nearly that many return for the second. The third day was a bit smaller, as many new novices had to move in or attend campus orientations today.
RUDU has been holding Novice Retreats of some kind for five years, but this is the third year of multi-day events hosted by SC&I, who co-sponsors the Debate Union. The second Novice Retreat this year is a two-day event on Sunday and Monday and will have a much smaller, but no less dedicated enrollment.
As per usual, this year’s new novice class seemed to enjoy the debate games and drills the best, including the ever-popular Two-Minute Drill. A great deal of improvement was seen among all attendees from the first day to the last.
This year’s Retreat graduates will be competing as part of perhaps the most exciting and skilled incarnation of a Rutgers debate team in history. Ranked third in the country last year, RUDU stands poised to contend for one of the top two spots in the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) standings this season. The 28-weekend season begins in one week at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) will be holding two Novice Retreats in the School of Communication and Information (SC&I) as summer comes to a close. This will be the third year in a row that SC&I has hosted these intensive, fun introductions to APDA-style debate for prospective Debate Union novices.
Those interested in joining RUDU for the upcoming season can choose from one of two sessions, one just before the opening of housing, and one just after. The sessions are as follows:
Retreat I: Wednesday, August 28th – Friday, August 30th, 10 AM – 5 PM each day
Retreat II: Sunday, September 1st & Monday, September 2nd, 10 AM – 5 PM each day
SC&I can be found at 4 Huntington Street on the College Avenue Campus in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Free parking is available for the first Retreat for those wishing to commute from home.
While it is by no means mandatory to attend a Retreat in order to join RUDU in the upcoming season, it will be the best time to learn the craft of parliamentary debate before the demands of the season and the school year begin. RUDU always accepts new members and offers training for those looking to improve their public speaking skills and compete with the very best in the nation. RUDU finished the 2012-2013 season ranked third in the country, behind only Yale and Brandeis.
The Rutgers University Debate Union (RUDU) closed its most successful season of all-time with the annual Senior Banquet, held this year upstairs in the Livingston Dining Commons. About half of the 56 students who competed in at least one tournament this year attended, celebrating the 3rd College of the Year standing for Rutgers in the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) and the seven graduating seniors who gave their farewell speeches to the club.
Jason Boyle, Katerina Dimitrusheva, Leland Perice, Archana Babu, Bhargavi Sriram, Nisha Kumar, and Chris Bergman gave Senior Speeches in the first half of the three-hour program. Each was introduced by a close friend on the team who regaled the crowd with stories of their early time on the Debate Union and what they felt was meaningful about that person’s contribution to their lives. The respective introducers for the seven seniors were Shireen Hamza, Gabi Cozzolino, Arbi Llaveshi, Daimler Vadlamuri, Deepta Janardhan, Rachel Moon, and Ashley Novak. Many speakers focused on the sense of inclusion and welcomeness on RUDU and what they were able to get out of their time with debate. The last three speakers dispensed advice on what to focus on for those with debating still ahead of them, with Bergman closing on the recommendation that people step out of their ordinary experiences as much as they can.
Senior Bhargavi Sriram closed her speech with passing on Farhan Ali’s “beepy timer” to Deepta Janardhan. The ceremonial award is given by a graduating senior on the team to a non-senior to honor their perseverance and dedication to the team. She also gave the Senior Gift, a new tradition this year, on behalf of the seniors, which was a camera for recording practice rounds and competitive rounds for use by the team. Coach Storey Clayton closed the speeches with a brief statement thanking the team for their hard work and dedication and reminding them to not forget how far the team has come in a short number of years, thanks to the contributions of every last person on the squad.
The night continued with a game of “RUDU Feud!”, a take on Family Feud about various attributes of members of the Rutgers team. The game was run by Deepta Janardhan and Henry Phipps. The night then concluded with Henry Phipps’ slideshow of the year, set to music, and the annual iconic team photo, seen above.
Below is a list of the members of RUDU and their status heading into next year. All made significant contributions to the club this year in its most successful and storied year in the history of debate at Rutgers.