Based in Brooklyn, Packy is a startup strategy & Philly sports Enthusiast

New York City Debate Club

New York City Debate Club

At the risk of intimidating you with my coolness, I want to tell you something: I was on the debate team in high school and college.

At Episcopal, I was a 4-year member of the Junto Club and a two-time school champion. At Duke, I was on the Debate Team freshman and sophomore year with my Episcopal teammate, Nick Brown, providing comic relief on our way to a better-than-.500 record in intercollegiate tournaments against older debaters from some of the country's top schools. Next time you see me, ask me about the time we debated The Naval Academy team about just how far they would go to secure crack were they addicted to crack. (We won.)

Duke Debate team at a tournament at Columbia.

Duke Debate team at a tournament at Columbia.

For about five years, a few friends and I have discussed starting a Debate Club. Something casual, with friends, and then friends of friends, and then friends of friends of friends.

Why?

Debate inspires range in thinking, sharpens intellects, creates clarity in arguments, and compels the debater to view issues from both sides, knowing that she might be called on to defend a position she strongly disagrees with. Debate is competitive, applied learning. And debate is surprisingly fun.

(In the spirit of debate, check out this post on why Debate is Stupid.)

After 5 years, now seems like a great time to start a Debate Club, because:

  • There is real value in being able to understand multiple sides of an argument

  • My friends, and the friends of my friends, are ~10 years out of school and have gained experiences that will add flavor and perspective to the debates

  • I want a competitive outlet

  • Because of its competitive nature, debating forces organization of ideas and clarity of thinking

  • I would love to have more things to do with each other beyond going to bars and restaurants

To start, I'm thinking of structuring this pretty loosely:

  • Monthly debates at locations around the city, on a weeknight around 7pm

  • 2-person teams, tournament-style

  • List of possible topics contributed to by participants and sent around a couple of weeks in advance

  • Modified, lightweight APDA Rules

  • Food and drinks

I think that we could get a lightweight version of this going pretty quickly. If you're interested, Iā€™d appreciate it if you would fill out a quick form by clicking the button below:

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