BADASS debates off-shore drilling

September 19, 2008

Due to lighting difficulties, Brandeis Academic Debate and Speech Society’s first public debate of the semester started out in the dark, but, by the end, everyone in the atrium of Shapiro Campus Center was enlightened. Tuesday marked the group’s third public debate. The result was a heated interchange between veteran members and aspiring debaters. The debate, sponsored by Democracy for America, College Democrats, Students for Environmental Action, and the Brandeis Republicans, began at 8 p.m. and went for about an hour.

Around 8 p.m. students started taking their seats, ready to a debate a controversial question: should we drill in America to deal with rising oil prices? Before any actual debating began, though, BADASS showed a brief slideshow introducing the club and detailing their accomplishments. When the slideshow finished, a series of six minute long speeches were given back and forth by the two teams: government, who supported drilling, and opposition.

The debate was hosted by Carly Greenberg ’11, the group’s publicity coordinator. First to speak was Dan Blynn ’09, on behalf of the government, then Andrew Husick ’11, of opposition. The debate then bounced back to government with Rebecca Sivitz ’09. Last of the long speeches was opposition’s Brain Botnick ’09. Throughout their opponents’ speeches, members of the other team were allowed to stand up and attempt to interject, adding humor to an otherwise highly intellectual event.

Some of the key points in the government’s pro-drill argument were that the economy will improve, drilling will lead to a lower dependence on foreign oil, and that America should be preemptive. The anti-drill opposition side fired back claiming that, even if drilling occurs, prices probably won’t go down, that drilling is invasive, and ended with a plea to actively utilize alternative energy sources.

“I was impressed with how both extreme sides maintained their extreme stance so well. I had my initial thoughts and stances, but after this debate, I was questioning which side I should really be on. There were both just so good.” noted John Fonte ’12.

Then the “public” portion of the evening began. Various students from the audience approached the front of the stage to give their impromptu speeches on the topic, either in defense of government, opposition, or neutrally. One of the public debaters was Aaron Voldman ’09, who spoke in defense of opposition, as did Liz Crane ’11. Anwar Abdul-Wahab ’11, took an opposite point of view and spoke in support of drilling in America.

Aurite Werman ’12, enjoyed the debate. “I found the arguments really interesting and well-researched. I also liked how everyone got really competitive, even though it was clear that they were all friends.”

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