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Organizing a Debate

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Hosting a debate event is much more organizational work than simply booking a speaker. However, there is a greater payoff in attendance, as people from both sides of the issue (as well as the all-important "undecided" demographic) are more likely to attend in anticipation of seeing sparks fly. Here are some important organizing tips as you arrange a campus debate:

  • Assess whether or not your group is up to the challenge. Debates are hard work.
  • When you decide to pick a date for the event, pick one at least 3 months in the future, and pick 3 possible dates--avoid Fri. and the weekend.
  • Think about the cost-SSA provides project grants for just this sort of event. If you're choosing a member of the SSA's Speakers Bureau , we provide those speakers for free on a first-come first-serve basis. Also try contacting your student treasurer or social activities board to acquire funding for your event. If the price is still prohibitive, invite professors from campus, thereby cutting out travel costs. Professors will sometimes participate in campus events for free if you ask them nicely, especially if this the topic is related to their work!
  • Devise a debate topic. Make sure this is fair. 'Why is religion so terrible' is an example of a debate topic that is not fair.

Interview with Newest Speakers Bureau Member Dave Rand

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 Dave Rand is a Harvard grad student, member of the SSA affiliated Harvard Graduate Humanist Community, electro-punk musician, and the newest member of the SSA's Speakers Bureau.

RAFT Declares War on Truthiness

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Colbert on TruthinessRAFT (Rationalists and Free Thinkers at the University of Illinois at Chicago) has found a prime directive: the War on Truthiness.

Humanists Without Borders at Nigerian Conference

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Port Harcourt, NigeriaArmed guards and military checkpoints? In Port Harcourt, Nigeria, the Humanists Without Borders (HWB) was one group among many navigating these obstacles to attend the Nigeria Humanist Movement's 2007 Annual Convention. The conference took place on the 24th and 25th of August at the Students' Viewing Centre of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology.

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