SLU Debate Society provides a place for both civil and fun discourse


Ian Stewart

Group President Fajr Fayed with Vice President Brooke Sonnier.

In a climate where civilized debate does not often occur, a new campus organization hopes to provide students opportunities for civil discussion.

The Debate Society was started by Political Science and History major Fajr Fayed. She was interested in forming a debate club after realizing there was not an existing student organization.

This realization prompted research for the creation of a debate group for other curious students. The debate club acts as a place where members can participate and learn how to debate one another in a civilized manner.  

“I think it’s very important to learn how to discuss certain topics while still remaining civil. You’re going to come across people who aren’t going to agree with you, no matter the topic,” Fajr said. 

Members like visual arts major Haley Villneuve believe that club teaches you skills that help to respect the opposing side. 

“In the club, we learn different debate styles and ways of respecting the other speaker. We are also taught how to put your thoughts together in a coherent argument, while also being able to listen to other people better,” Villneuve shared.  

The club starts off learning and using different debate formats such as the Lincoln Douglas debate format, where the affirmative side speaks first, then the negative gives their speech and is followed by cross examination and rebuttals. Once members are familiar with the format, they continue on with a practice debate.   

Students of all majors are encouraged to join the club in hopes of learning new and important life skills, along with forming connections with other students. 

Members of the club are taught different styles of debate, while respecting the opposing debater at the same time. Learning how to form an argument and expressing it in a coherent manner is critical in a debate setting.  

The club is currently in the process of expanding its number of members. They will be having a table at the Strawberry Jubilee event. Club officers are also looking into opportunities for participating in state and national tournaments with other schools.  

To learn more, you can follow the Debate Society Instagram for news and updates, @selu_debatesociety.