Debate Team Takes Top Prize
Georgia Tech debate team members (L-R) are Jason Floyd, John Golden, Hasan Qadri, and Andrew Huot.
Georgia Tech’s debate team emerged the overall winner (with the most cumulative points) at the Georgia Collegiate Varsity Debate Championship held recently at Valdosta State University.
During the competition, the teams debated: immigration status as a criterion for federal funds, U.S. federal government investments in space systems, bridging the racial divide, plans to counter climate change, and the merits of violent vs. nonviolent protest.
“I think it’s notable that college students are moving beyond social media to have a constructive discourse over issues in the currently tumultuous political climate,” said Andrew Huot, vice president of Tech’s debate team. “All of these topics are important for college students to engage, and Georgia Tech’s debate team proved that you can be a helluva engineer and a helluva debater,” he said.
Tech hasn’t had a debate team for a few years. Huot and fellow industrial engineering student Jason Floyd found there was student interest in debate, so they took the lead and restarted the club in 2016. The team, which doesn’t have a paid coach or an established program, is comprised of 75 percent engineering majors.
“Most debate teams come from liberal arts universities and use broad claims and vague rhetoric to debate,” Huot said. “We debate using a technical scientific approach characteristic of Georgia Tech. The best example was the climate change topic, where our competitor Mercer University used broad arguments about the merits of green energy, whereas Tech argued for the installation of a space-based solar power collection system, for which we had cost and energy output estimates and specific mechanisms within NASA to put the plan into effect,” he said.
The team hopes to continue its success at the ACC Debate Championship in Miami on March 31.