Paw'd Defiance

Room for Debate

June 19, 2019 UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Ben Meiches, UW Tacoma junior Zaira Rojas and UW Tacoma alumnus Eric Ballentine Season 1 Episode 14
Paw'd Defiance
Room for Debate
Chapters
Paw'd Defiance
Room for Debate
Jun 19, 2019 Season 1 Episode 14
UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Ben Meiches, UW Tacoma junior Zaira Rojas and UW Tacoma alumnus Eric Ballentine

A conversation about debate with UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Ben Meiches. Meiches is a former national debate champion. Meiches along with UW Tacoma junior Zaira Rojas and UW Tacoma alumnus Eric Ballentine talk about the importance of debate in terms of skill development and how they're working to break down barriers in a space that has historically excluded people of color. Rojas and Ballentine will also the settle the age old argument about which is better: dogs or cats.

Show Notes Transcript

A conversation about debate with UW Tacoma Assistant Professor Ben Meiches. Meiches is a former national debate champion. Meiches along with UW Tacoma junior Zaira Rojas and UW Tacoma alumnus Eric Ballentine talk about the importance of debate in terms of skill development and how they're working to break down barriers in a space that has historically excluded people of color. Rojas and Ballentine will also the settle the age old argument about which is better: dogs or cats.

Eric Ballentine:

We just have this really, really diverse campus to provide all these different perspectives that aren't typically present in the debate format.

Music:

[Music]

Crisostomo:

From UW Tacoma, This is Paw'd Defiance.

Music:

[Music]

Crisostomo:

Welcome to Paw'd Defiance, where we don't lecture, but we do educate. Today on the Paw'd, debate with UW Tacoma assistant professor Ben Meiches, UW Tacoma student Zaira Rojas, and alumnus Eric Ballentine. Let's talk about the history of debate specifically its exclusion of different communities and how Meiches and his students are working to change that. We'll also discuss why formal debate is important and we'll finally settle that age old dilemma, dogs or cats. So hi, today we have Dr. Ben Meiches, Zaira Rojas, and Eric Ballentine. Dr. Meiches, can you introduce yourself?

Ben Meiches:

Yeah, hi, I'm Ben Meiches. I'm an assistant professor of security studies and conflict resolution in the school of interdisciplinary arts and sciences. And I suppose I'm also the person who started the debate process at UWT.

Zaira Rojas:

My name is Zaira Rojas, and I am a junior in the politics philosophy, economics major on the international studies track. I'm also part of the global honors program, and I have a gender studies minor, and I am passionate about debate and have been the student influence in the debate process right now.

Ben Meiches:

I'm Eric Ballentine, UW Tacoma graduate, class of 2019. I just recently wrapped up school. And my first time ever debating was last quarter.

Speaker 3:

So I want to start with a topic about debate. What is debate?

Ben Meiches:

So debate is a forum for people to exchange ideas, to have conversations with one another and to learn the process of public speaking and argumentation. There are a number of different models of debate that are practiced, most famously kind of as the presidential one on one model that derives from the famous debates between Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. In its more contemporary setting, It's an opportunity for students to dialogue about important issues that can range from local politics to global politics to value issues. There's different formats that are called policy debates, American Parliamentary and British Parliamentary debate. On our campus, we're just trying to get students in conversation, learn how to argue, deal with contentious issues, and figure out how to advocate for one another, and it's a forum for that more than anything else.

Speaker 3:

So Zaira and Eric, what got you started and interested about debate?

Eric Ballentine:

I took a debate class, just a two credit course just to see what it was about. I've always enjoyed public speaking, so I was just like, hey, let's take this two credit class and see what's going on. Um, that's when I met Ben. We had some opportunity to debate in class, and I tried to be engaged as much as possible any time that there was a debate coming up and then at the end of the quarter, they were like, "Hey, there's this debate competition. Anybody that wants to do it, let me know." And so I volunteered.

Zaira Rojas:

I've been doing debate in one way or another since high school, since my freshman year of high school. I've always wanted to be a lawyer and I knew that that's what I wanted to do. So debate seemed like a good preparation for it. It is nothing like what I thought it would be when I signed up freshman year of high school, but I immediately fell in love with it. I love the space. It gave me an opportunity to kind of take everything, all my other classes, all the other subjects, and bring it together into a space where I could talk about why those things really mattered. I also love the sound of my own voice, and debate gives you space to speak and voice your opinions and thoughts.

Crisostomo:

Can you talk about the history of debate?

Ben Meiches:

I'm not a professional rhetorician, so I'm not a "history of argumentation as a form" person, but you could probably make the argument that it's there at least since the foundation of the Polus, 24 centuries ago. More contemporary context, though, like again, the Lincoln Douglas debate is a big deal in the United States. It starts the tradition of the presidential candidates engaging in one on one debate. The idea that debate is part of civic life, that we would expect and talk about it. The idea of an academic practice probably begins with a thing called the National Forensic League, which was founded in the twenties or thirties and continues to this day, and hosts high school students in multiple different speech and debate formats talking to one another. At UW Tacoma, though, this idea really started off two or three years ago. Professor Sarah Hampson and I received some really generous funding from the SIF process that was designed to help increase civic engagement on campus, and we were asked and to create curriculum that could support that. Professor Hamson pursued street law and I modeled the debate idea. The notion was to get students in a room, start talking about issues to enhance our critical thinking skills, our ability to argue about all kinds of stuff, and then to get out into the community and do that and to interact with other institutions. So here, it's actually just been a few years now that we've been talking about it. And the first course that was supportive of this was just this past winter quarter.

Crisostomo:

What is your background in debate?

Ben Meiches:

I have a long history in debate. I started when I was 14 years old, I debated in high school. I debated in college at Whitman and then I coached for two years at University of Puget Sound. So when I was 22 years old and just graduated college, I then turned around and was teaching other college students how to debate. And then I worked for six years at the university of Minnesota as well. And I've helped in other spots in high schools and places like that along the road. So I spent a long time working on debate in one form or another. It's my first time at University of Washington Tacoma teaching a graded class associated with it though.

Crisostomo:

Is the debate that you're teaching currently at UW Tacoma the same as the debate that you've been experiencing in other places?

Ben Meiches:

When I was a debater I did primarily what's called policy debate, which is a four person debate with one topic the entire year long. And everyone has a lot of research and preparation for it. Here in the course we've just been working on a very generic format that could be parliamentary, it could fit in policy, it doesn't really make too much of a difference because most of the people that are coming to it don't have a lot of experience. They're more like Eric, where they've just sort of entered into a class, they may have heard about it, maybe they did a debate in a club or a course in high school. So we're just kind of working on very basic skills in that context. Then the individual format is less relevant. The debate tournament that we went to, that we had some success at, was in British Parliamentary format before. And I've seen and coached that before, but I've never done it myself. Actually.

Crisostomo:

Can you explain the British Parliamentary debate format?

Ben Meiches:

British debate is a format that involves eight people, and two of those people are on teams, each team, so there are four teams, total, two people each, and two of those teams support a government, side and two support an opposition side. And the way that it works is, there's a resolution which is given to all the students about 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the debate. And that resolution can be about anything. I can't remember, what were the topics we ended up getting?

Zaira Rojas:

We debated about online courses and whether they have benefited or not benefited society, we debated about Brexit, and whether they should have more time to figure out their stuff. We debated about the United States pulling out of Taiwan, and then we debated about vaccinations and the anti-vaccine movement. It was nine rounds, and every single round was a different topic. One of them was about democracy over peace, or peace over democracy. So it was a huge range of topics. And in some rooms we had no idea what the heck was going on, in other rooms we were like, "we're the experts, we know what's going on."

Ben Meiches:

So one of the benefits is you really don't know what's coming, and you only get 15 minutes to talk with your partner, and then you have to support one of these two sides. And the route is divided up into an opening government, an opening opposition, and then a closing government and closing opposition. And the way it's actually judged is that you rank one through four, which of those individual positions was important. So as opposed to a win lose model, you're actually both competing against people who have the opposite idea that you do, and people who have the same idea. So it's partly judged on how well you do in articulating your own arguments. And there are traditionally eight rounds at a tournament and then they clear to what's called elimination debates. You have to do so well in all of the preceding rounds, and then the top teams get to continue on.

Speaker 5:

Zaria, did you also take dr Meechie's class? Um, so it's funny because like, I actually did not take his class. Um, I found him through a different professor who, because again, I've, I've loved debate and I did it all throughout high school and I was very disappointed that we didn't have anything like it on our campus. So I emailed one of my professors and I was like, Hey, love debate would really love to do something with it before I graduated on our campus. Do you have any idea if there is a space for me to do this? And then she hooked me up with Ben. So I showed up, I sent him an email. I was like, Hey, you don't know who I am, but this professor told me that you're doing stuff. Can I come talk to you? Showed up at his, uh, in his office. And I was like, and had maybe an hour, hour and a half long conversation about my debate history, his debate history, what I wanted to do. And like I went a couple of times to his class just to see what they were doing and um, to meet people too. And that's how Eric and I connected.

Ben Meiches:

It was weird because the first time I had ever met Xena was like just a few days before the debate, like, like a week before. Um, so like over the next week, like over the course of like three meetings, like we just kind of practice and she kinda prep for me and like held my hand a little bit, like going into it. Um, and so like, uh, that was it.

Speaker 5:

Can you both describe the experience that you felt during the competition? Um, so I've always had this feeling at the beginning, especially for this tournament because this is the first tournament that I really, I went to out of just like I've missed debate and I wanted to, I mean, again, I had no reason to be there and in many regards because it wasn't like I needed to be there for a class or anything. Um, so the first time I go up to give my first speech, as I'm walking up there, I'm literally thinking, why am I here? Like, I don't need to be here. I could be sleeping in, I could be doing literally anything else I maybe need to throw up now. I feel sick. I feel weird. I'm, so that first speech is always really hard. But in the middle of the speech, it just feels amazing, uncomfortable.

Speaker 5:

And it feels like this is what I should be doing and I've missed it so much. And as the rounds progress, every single round, I felt even more and more like, this is what I should be doing and this is what I am good at. And um, it was nice too because Ben was there with us and every single round he was coaching us and telling us like, okay, this is what you should be doing, what you need to improve. This is where, and that, that one on one coaching I also haven't necessarily had historically. And so that was really amazing and wonderful. And so by the end of the first day it was, it felt like coming home, right? Like, it felt happy and exciting and, and you get angry too, like as you go because you're upset that you're not doing as well or that people aren't, or I don't know, it's exciting and awesome. And so I thought it was a wonderful experience.

Ben Meiches:

Yeah, I was, uh, it was crazy. Like, I mean, it's funny cause like know this style of debate, like everybody has like this particular format, right? And like the, a lot of these people have been practicing for like years. Um, then you get this guy who comes out of nowhere and like, he doesn't have this format. And I'm not shy to say that like I'm a good public speaker. Like I've known that it's something I've always wanted to do as a kid. So, um, so I stuck with what I knew. Um, and like our first debate I, I got up there and hostess like, all right, let's, let's see how this goes. And then word started coming out of your mouth. And particularly because like, I was the second person debating in the debate. Like, I really took the great opportunity to kind of like shut the other side down in terms of what they were presenting.

Ben Meiches:

Um, and I really, really felt like immediately, like within a minute or two, I was like, yeah, well you belong here. And it was interesting just like me as I to talk. And it was like, our goal is just like to get better every round and uh, to like not come in last out of like 56 teams. Um, but then as time went on, we were like, wait a minute. Like we can beat these kids. Like, and like, and even Ben had said, it was just like, so you guys just beat some of the people, top people in the country. And I was just like, Oh, okay, well, um, this is going to be great. So it was, it was an amazing experience. It's exhausting. Very, very exhausting. Um, I mean, you have four rounds a day, so like those four rounds you get home and you're just like, here's the beer.

Speaker 7:

[inaudible] wasn't say that, but yeah, it's, it's amazing. So I want to ask you about how was the turnout

Speaker 4:

and the tournament. So it was fantastic. As a matter of fact, it was unprecedented. Um, so Syrah has debated in the past that Eric is a true novice, which means he's never done any debate activity before in high school or college. This is the first time that he's actually walked into a tournament and we are obviously a brand new school and that we've never had any kind of debate program in the past. It would actually prepare our students for this. So you have all a sense of context. The PLU tournament, the USC regionals had about 60 65 overall teams in, which means there's 120 individuals. And according to dr Axian at PLU in the history of the tournament, they've never had a new school clear to the elimination debates before. And they've certainly never had a new school with debaters who have never debated before, do that. So we actually ended up taking the equivalent of ninth place overall at the tournament out of 60 teams having people who've never ever been in this activity before. And that was outstanding. I think they kind of gave you some sense of this, but like when we walked in, we were hoping to like win a debate or maybe two and they ended up winning the equivalent of about six of their eight debates, uh, overall and doing fantastic. And they actually, um, had to be there on a third day because of that, the elimination debates in

Speaker 5:

front of a much larger audience. So, um, it vastly exceeded our expectations. What can debate do for someone in terms of skill development? Do you want, want to take a crack at that and maybe, um, so, um, debate has made me a better writer, right? So like anytime I write a paper for a course or a class, um, it, even at my worst it is a good paper because like, I know how to take research and break it down and build arguments around it. I know how to think logically in Oregon in an organized manner. Like, my paper is always really organized and these are skills that I've developed over many years. And so now I don't even think about it, right? I don't, I don't freak out when I hear that I need to write a 10 page paper by like next week because I can do that.

Speaker 5:

I know how to do those things. Um, I know how to think logically and, and communicate to different audiences as well. Um, because one of the big things when you're debating is you're watching your judges and you know, if you see them smile, you're like, okay, they're buying into this. Let me really hit on this, on this thing. And so you learn how to read people. Um, you learn how to communicate, which I think that regardless of what you want to do, whether you want to be a lawyer or doctor, whoever, you need to learn how to communicate with other people and you need to be able to, um, think critically and be able to put your own ideas forward in a way that people are going to buy into them. And so debate teaches you how to do that. And more importantly, because in every round we, it's a random choice which side of the argument will be in. Um, you have to know how to think about a certain issue from the other side. And so it makes you empathetic. It makes you realize that who you're arguing with, they have the same values and like they are human being and so teaches you how to be more civil and, and, and really engage with arguments. Even if you're super passionate about it in a way that is, um, informative and helpful to everybody.

Ben Meiches:

You know, you're in as the Bay process and, um, you're choosing you, you don't get a choice of like what side you debate on. Right? And so maybe a lot of people like we're forced to defend positions that they didn't necessarily believe. Right. Um, but the interesting aspect about that is that, um, regardless of what side you're on, right, it kind of strengthens your argument and your thought process when you learn to think like the opposition thinks of what you're debating about in particular. And in addition to that, it's like, like Ziba says, the communication aspect is like, it's so strong like picking up on people's signals, um, whether they're nervous or, uh, particularly with me, I really, really, really struggled, uh, with taking notes, um, all through high school, all through college. And I really, really noticed that in this debate. Like as time went by, like every round, like I got better and like it, it would get like from the first round I'd had like half a page of notes to like the last round I had. Like I think I had like four or five like pages of notes for each person that was arguing before me. Um, and that like adds much value cause like

Speaker 4:

taking notes is like tremendously hard for me. Um, on top of like actually listening and digesting the information that the person has giving, it's usually one or the other for me. And so that was, that was really, really, really extremely helpful. And the, the amount of teamwork that goes on during a debate, um, that's not really seen as like constantly. Like we like writing notes, like we are best friends in high school, passing them back and forth saying like, Hey, did you catch that? Am I drip man? Like, you know, and it was, um, it's, there's just so many things that you're doing at the same time. Um, being able to multitask, uh, that skill is, is dramatically increased. Those are both great explanations of benefits. I think there's a whole lot, um, we know academically that this is one of the best skills that you can possibly develop.

Speaker 4:

Um, there's a study, for instance at the high school level that looked at Chicago area schools that says that of any one single skillset you could introduce to a students with to figure out how they're going to improve their GPA and performance over time. Debate is number one. So what is like the definition of a high impact practice, which is a phrase we use a lot to talk about higher ed these days. Um, but you know, they've done a great job of summarizing that. Maybe a couple other things to think about. Um, it forces you to learn how to research in a way that almost no other process will because in order to be capable of responding to your opponent, right? And being able to anticipate what side of an argument you might be on, including sides that you may not like defending, um, you really have to be quite thorough.

Speaker 4:

And it, it puts you in a community meeting with other students and instructors who have worked on that skill set. And so it's easier to model. It's peer to peer learning. So that's all beneficial. It makes you more courageous. There are so many people who hate public speaking and there's really no cure to that other than going out and doing this process. And I think that, you know, if you asked them more about what their experience was like at PLU, you go in front of these other people, you don't know what to anticipate and all of a sudden you realize that you have a place there and that you're capable of doing this and that you have a voice and that that voice is important and it's logical and it can tell us all kinds of important things, not even go one step further. I think debate is about liberation.

Speaker 4:

And that's a weird thing because y'all think about debate as a liberatory practice. But there's been a lot of interesting people that have been pushing this line for awhile and the academic community, so I'm going to go with it. It's about social justice. Um, traditionally debate was about, uh, affluent whites, traditionally men talking to one another about a relatively abstract ideas. And it's broken away from that recently because of people working all over the country to make it into something different. Um, but it makes you a more powerful speaker. It can give you the ability to realize how to talk to others, how to take a stand on issues. And it's really a laboratory for doing that. Um, as much as it is anything else. And it can give you an entirely different sense of what you're capable of.

Speaker 8:

[inaudible]

Speaker 6:

so can you guys give us an example of what the debate sounds like? [inaudible]

Speaker 5:

yeah, so we thought that to prove that, you know, we're fun and cool people, we would do something a little bit easier and funny and fun. Um, so we're going to a debate, which is a better pet dogs or cats. And I will be talking about cats and Eric, you will be talking about dogs. So I have a tiny cat who's like five pounds and she is my world. I would do anything for her. Um, and, and I have a dog too, by the way. So like the dog doesn't know, but the cat is by far the favorite amongst the two. It may be wrong, but it is true. And, um, you can't hide behind the truth or you can't hide the truth. Uh, so I'm gonna give you a two reasons why cats are better pets than dogs. First of all, cats are independent.

Speaker 5:

Now what this means is that if you are super busy, have to work a bunch, have to go to school, have kids, have all the stuff going on in your life, you can just like literally set out a bowl of cat food and water and your cat is fine and your cat, she won't die, you know, or he, I guess you have a litter box so you don't even need to worry about taking your cat out necessarily to go bathroom. They're super low maintenance, they're independent. Um, but part of what is really valuable about this independency is that they also teach about consent. Uh, I'm sure everyone has had that experience where a cat doesn't want to be pet and like takes out its little closets like me, I'll get away from me. So this teaches people I think a very valuable skill. You should only touch things when they want to be touched, when they want to be pet, when they want to, you know, when they want to be left. And so cat's teach about consent. And so because of these two reasons, because they're independent and because they teach us a very important and valuable skill, I believe cats make better pets.

Ben Meiches:

Okay, so just to clarify really quickly, her entire point on why cats are better pets than dogs is because you don't really have to take care of them. But the idea is flawed. Number one, what she really means by cats is, are better pets than dogs is. They're lazy. They don't do anything. They just sit around. You feed them, they say now they purr and you go on your Merry way. Right? Low expectations. I am. Me personally, I prefer high standards. Having a dog. You train a dog, you treat a dog well. They do great things. Sometimes they even work. Sometimes they work at firehouses, sometimes their canine dogs, sometimes they're out saving the world, saving people, changing lives. But in the end of the day, there are also a great companions. They also comfort people. They're also service animals. There are a variety of things that you can do with a dog that you cannot do with the cat. And they're not just lazy. Not to say that some dogs aren't lazy or dogs don't have lazy moments, but overall they're more proactive than the angry cat.

Speaker 5:

So first of all, his whole point about dogs being great, which like yeah I respect it. Dogs work and they, they do important things, right? Those aren't pets though. Those are working dogs. And a lot of times actually they encourage those dogs not to have really close relationship with certain families because they want the dog to focus in on the job. So that is like completely off the topic really and isn't relevant. So if we take all the pet, all the stuff about dogs are working, all that we're left with is that if you treat them well, dogs will treat you well too. Do you know how good it feels to have a cat like you and like you back? Because they're so hard to get to know. Like my cat likes me and no one else. And so that cat makes me feel special.

Speaker 5:

That cat helps me, uh, helps me feel like nobody else matters. My dog immediately goes and hugs and like barks and at everybody. My dog loves everyone and that's cool and great, but when it comes to a pet, you want to feel special. You want your pets will love you and comfort you. And like when I'm sad, my cat comes up to me and like me out and it's like, what's going on? And I like to think that's what she's asking. Maybe she's just, you know, wants pods. Who knows? But I'm in truth. If you want a deep and strong relationship with an animal, cats do it for you because they're independent because you need to work for it. Products super easy. Do you get more joy out of an easy a or a hard you like works and earned it? A second. One's better.

Ben Meiches:

Shout out to your dog. Oh, hope he's listening is going to be deeply disappointed here. This, this is what I'm saying and I understand. Yes, I use some working definitions of dogs and canines and, and so on. But here's the deal. You're ever heard of somebody breaking into somebody's house and the cat come into rescue? No. As that, it just doesn't happen. Dogs come to your rescue, they can also comfort to you. I understand. Yes. Going back to your premise of yeah, cats can take care of themselves, but if CAS can take care of themselves, why would you have to adopt a cat other than the fact that you just want it, right? There's supposed to be a family member in a loved one. Something that you can take care of and, and they can age you is to be a companion. Right? Dogs can do that too. So, right to say it. So say like right now it kind of seems like we're on equal footing in terms of dogs versus cats. This is where we break out for dogs, right? Dogs at the end of the day, they can protect you like cats, camp dogs. At the end of the day, they can form greater bonds. Um, and you don't have to worry about them trying to claw you to them.

Speaker 5:

I have never met a Chihuahua that can, you know, actually help someone not break into my house. But you know what? Every single cat is able to kill mice and rats, which bring disease and do other horrible things are on your pillow. I mean, they wanted like, first of all, they do it because they want to get from boxes inside of your house. They do it because they want to give you a gift and it's awesome. In grades two, they all deserve credit. They're like, look at what I did for you. Look at what I did. Are you saying that animals shouldn't like show the good things and amazing things they do? You know dogs do that too. It's called bringing you your newspaper. My dad does not do that, man. So I don't know. See

Ben Meiches:

that's on you. That's human error, not the dogs. You should have trained them better. Right? We're going back and we're talking about these different things between cats and dogs, right? And you make some great points, but a lot of that really depends on their human, right? Human nature determines how your animals perform and act at home. Right? And that companionship really, really relies on you. So just to say that your cats are better than dogs simply because they act better and you, you feel closer to them at the end. Um, that's totally up to you how you do that. And I really hope you go home and give your hug a big giant hug to your dog cause I felt really bad for him right now.

Speaker 5:

Know man, I put as much work into both the cat and the dog. The dog has failed me on countless occasions for the cat cat stand strong and five pounds. Um, can you talk more about the debate club? Yeah. So we just, um, uh, earlier this quarter we filled in all the paperwork to have it be an RSO. And right now what we're trying to do is battle this public speaking fear because honestly anybody can do debate and anybody can be successful at debate, especially the stylus of debate that we are looking at, um, at doing on our campus. Uh, all it takes is for people to stop being scared of public speaking. That is by far that is not the difficult thing of debate. It is not getting up and talking in front of people. That is the easiest part honestly I would say we're focusing on is giving people an opportunity to research topics and to um, and we even, we do drills that kind of allow us to take turns in coming up with arguments and we, uh, take, uh, we do drills where we're, everybody literally is doing speeches right there for an hour long period.

Speaker 5:

Um, and so we're trying to kind of develop those skills so that come next quarter in or I guess not next quarter, that'd be summer, come on him. We're maybe set up in a S in a way that people feel comfortable and confident, maybe even going and competing to tournaments. Because honestly, I think that while we get a lot out of the classes, while we get a lot out of the club and debating each other, we get so much out of competing against other campuses and other students. Um, for example, to go back to Ben's point about debating liberatory and about what those spaces look like. Um, as a tournament, one of the topics we debated was online education, which, and when you think, think about it on its face, you know, it's not something super deep and meaningful, but Eric and I were the only people in that room who are, where are you doing that?

Speaker 5:

Online education is valuable because certain groups of people, this is the only way that they have access to higher education. Like I work 50 hours a week and I am a full time student. The only way this works is if I can take one online course every quarter that I can do on my own time. And like, so we came in talking about why online education is a very real personal issue that goes beyond freshmen who don't want to show up for class and want to stay at home and in their pajamas, right. And not and skip out on classes. And so, um, I think that our campus is so different than other university. And so when we go and compete in these tournaments, part of the reason we are successful is because we come in with such a different perspective from everybody else. And so what I want this club to do is to give students and opportunity to share those experiences because we all benefit from these shared experiences, but we also benefit from learning from each other's experiences.

Speaker 5:

Right? And so like, uh, Eric and I are very different from each other, but working together, we were coming up with arguments and, and like Eric's background, he'd be like, okay, well this is my experience. I was like, okay, this is my experience. And we came up with some really cool creative stuff that I would have never come across in any other setting like Eric and I wouldn't, that wouldn't have gone so intimate with each other and any other space and any class in any other club. And so our club is not just about public speaking and about doing these things. It's also about building friendships and community on a campus that really struggles to get students to show up every week for a club to, to hang out, to make friends, even though it sounds super lame, but honestly like it is a hard campus to make friends on. And so that is what we're doing. We're creating friendships where we're creating networks and we're teaching students how to be better students and better people.

Ben Meiches:

A lot of students on YouTube, Tacoma campus are older than the traditional college students. So there's that perspective. 20% of Europe's coma is military connected population. Um, so there's that perspective, right? And we just have this like really, really diverse campus to provide all these different perspectives that aren't typically present in the debate format. Um, interesting enough. Like it's, it's always been like, it's a common thing for me to walk into a room where people don't look like me. So I'm just used to that. But like in addition to that, like it was like me, two people of color on a team, one of which is a woman. And that was like, not duplicated, not even close to wherever that competition. And so like, it's interesting, like when you talk about things like social justice issues in debate, right? Um, they have a completely different, like, naive kind of format and like debate because they don't have self experience, right? They're not really, they're not really familiar with what it feels like. Right? And so when we, when you can bring that personal perspective, um, I think it's super important. Um, and it goes beyond, like, the competition is just like how to take what your personal feelings are and present it in a formal way to there are people can't just shut you down and show you to the side and tell you, Oh, that's a personal problem.

Speaker 3:

Thank you to our guests and a big thing. Get to our senior lecturer, Nicole Blair for letting us play your music on the show. Thank you to Mooney, our recording studio, and thank you for joining us today. Be sure to subscribe and go to iTunes, Spotify, Google podcasts, Stitcher and pocket casts.

Speaker 8:

[inaudible].