One of our YAL Chapter’s favorite recurring events that we do each semester is the The Great Debate: A debate amongst all the political student groups on campus over a variety of current issues. This was the fifth iteration of such debates and it was a successful and riveting debate. Holding public debate is a great way to attract the politically curious and it is a wonderful opportunity to expose them to the attractive arguments of personal liberty and economic freedom that we espouse. We were also thankful to have been sponsored by Generation Opportunity who picked up the tab for the pizza for our audience.
There are some important things to note for other chapters who might want to hold a debate of their own. You must begin planning these well in advance. It can be quite difficult to get all the debating groups to agree on questions, the format, and the date. Also, debaters will need to have time to prepare. It is preferable that you find some unbiased moderator, rather than selecting one of your own, and that takes time to secure. If you want to live stream the debate like we did, you will need to gather all the equipment and test it before hand, which we learned the hard way this time. Most importantly, you need to post posters a week in advance and have flyers ready to hand out the day of the debate and that too takes time to plan, create, and perform. Don’t forget to post on social media about it as well. This was the first debate I marketed and I am proud to share that we got record attendance of 114!
The Great Debate V was over freedom of speech, healthcare, foreign policy, gun control, and welfare & corporate welfare, as well as a Q&A from the audience. Our debaters consisted of Socialists Students, Democrats (we invited the UC Democrats, but they declined and thus we got someone to appear and debate for their ideals by proxy), UC College Republicans, and Young Americans for Liberty. To further engage with the audience, I live tweeted the debate from our YAL Chapter’s twitter using the hashtag #GD5. The debate was both civil and passionate and based off our post debate survey, our audience thoroughly enjoyed it. Through some cross tabulation, it was determined that Young Americans for Liberty was voted the winner of the debate, by those who don’t share our ideology, more than any other group and thus, were the most persuasive.
If you’d like to watch our debate, here are the links to it:
Unfortunately, we ran into some technical errors while live streaming. Audio begins at 7:26 on the first link. We hope you enjoy the debate.