Frequently Asked Questions

I missed the info sessions. Can I still join?

Most of our recruitment occurs early in fall semester. Still, if you’d like to join, email us!

Do I need debate experience?

No! Many of our top debaters didn’t have experience. We’ll teach you everything you need for success regardless of past experience.

I did high school debate. Is this like ___ format?

We strongly recommend former high school debaters read this article and this article for advice on the transition. It is important to note that parliamentary debate is NOT evidence based like PF or Policy and rewards extemporaneous creativity. Additionally, in both APDA and BP, the topic changes every round (not every tournament, month or year). Email us if you have more specific questions!

Are there team requirements?

Click here for more information about team requirements.

Do I have to pay to join?

No! By paying tuition, you’ve done your part. Debate is a historically privileged activity and we strive to remove all financial barriers.

Do you all only debate?

No! Our team has movie nights, team dinners and plenty of social opportunities. Outside of UMDS, our members belong to countless other RSOs, ranging from Powerlifting to a Poker Club.

How does UMDS promote equity?

Debate can be an incredibly inaccessible activity and it’s our first priority to maintain an inclusive and welcoming community for all. Over the next semester, we will appoint independent Equity Officers to confidentially respond to instances of inequity and will require regular training through the UMass Center for Women and Community (CWC) and the UMass Student Legal Services Office (SLSO).