Columbia Welcomes its Newest Novice Class!


On Friday, 9/8, many CDS members came by our table at the Activities fair to converse with interested freshman and transfers and share their experiences on the team. Our neon pink flyers stood out among the bushels of paper floating around, and by 4:00PM, were all gone, along with 40% of tryouts slots for the weekend. Despite popular assumptions, much of the interest in CDS came from freshmen who have had limited to no experience in high school debate. Many had an interest in public speaking, some in establishing an intercollegiate network, and others were just looking for a tight-knit team on campus. 

The start of school is bittersweet for many. At Columbia, the beginning of the Fall semester marks a return to classes, sports, activities, and seasonal Starbucks lattes. For the Debate Society, the first week of school is devoted to recruiting our new class of novices. 

On the first Sunday back, the CDS board met to confirm this year's recruitment strategy, which focused heavily on equity and inclusion. Team members quickly got to work posting flyers in class buildings, club meeting spaces and dorms, contacting leaders of cultural and affinity groups, and sliding flyers under the door of every CC, SEAS, and Barnard freshman. 


In response to dozens of eager questions about the format, subject matter, and social climate of debate, our varsity members happily invited new students to our demo debate that night. 

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At 7:30, over seventy people assembled assembled in the Lerner Party Space to watch Hannah Healy ('20) and Adem Sengal ('18) on the Government debate Taro Irani ('18) and Hilary Song ('20) on the following motion:

This house, as the feminist movement, would oppose corporations using feminist messaging in advertising.

The motion made for an interesting round, evoking clash on the implications of feminism for a modern woman. Arguments about mainstream Dove® commercials promoting body positivity faced off against arguments about the importance of intersectional feminism that represents and empowers the movement's minorities. The debaters kept the audience engaged with humor and thought-provoking content throughout the round.

By the end of the night, the signup sheet had overflowed, spilling into three extra hours on Monday night. In total, the board saw 140 tryouts, making deliberation exceptionally difficult this year. Nonetheless, on Tuesday night, about twenty CDS members, flag in hand, made their way around campus to initiate the new novice class. 


The Columbia Debate Society is incredibly excited to welcome our twenty-one new members, CDS class of '17: 

Alexander Keefe
Avital Raff
Céline Zhu
Claire Bruster
Dhruv Singh
Emily DiMaulo-Milk
Grace Protasiewicz
Leopold Aschenbrenner
Lilly Anderson
Matt Zinman
Matthew Simons

Max Neuman
Michael Wang
Moti Benti
Oliver Wang
Rodda John
Tanmay Chopra
Varun Venkatesh
Vivian Liu
Zach Ginsberg
Zoë Ewing

Congratulations, and welcome!!

RecruitmentColumbia Debate