The FIU Debate Team began the 2015-2016 season strong with an impressive win with debaters Justin Merwitzer (right), Political Science major, and Alex Schwarz (left), International Relations major, emerging as the champions of the Golden Gate Opener debate tournament at San Francisco State University held September 25-27, 2015. The junior duo competed against some of the most talented debaters from universities across the country. They advanced through the competition and faced 24 other Novice division teams to unanimously win the first place prize. This competition was the first open tournament for the novice pair, making this victory that much sweeter.
“Going to and winning the Golden Gate Opener was an amazing opportunity, due in no small part to our coach T. J. Lakin,” said Alex Schwarz, beaming with pride and gratitude.
This eighth annual Golden Gate Season Opener was a full-service tournament offering six preliminary rounds in two divisions, Novice & Open. Of all 11 AFA individual events at each half of the swing, two divisions of NPDA Parliamentary Debate (Novice & Open), two divisions of Lincoln Douglas debate (Novice and Open), and three divisions of policy debate (Novice, Junior, Open) took place.
Competitors were judged based on their intellectual, communication, and discourse skills. Students from schools across Florida, California, and Nevada competed for the first place trophy for overall best performance. FIU senior Luis Toro, Business Management major, and junior Abdel Reyes, Economics major, competed alongside sophomores Roman Viveros, Engineering major, and Juan Salamanca, English major; representing the university in this tournament.
Falling just shy of advancing to the elimination rounds, they were still successful in posting several key victories against Santa Rosa Junior College (Santa Rosa, CA), Solano College (Fairfield, CA), University of Nevada, Reno (Reno, NV), and University of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA).
The FIU Debate Team, housed in the Communication Arts Department, is a student group with a presence on both the MMC and BBC campuses. The team focuses on the importance of fostering public debate and public deliberation. Over the last twelve years, the FIU Debate Team has represented the university in collegiate competitions in a variety of public debate styles, which include parliamentary, British Parliamentary, and IPDA. It has developed exponentially with more and more students joining each year.