The Nevada Debate Union, part of the Department of Communication Studies in the University of Nevada, Reno's College of Liberal Arts, is hosting a public debate and awards ceremony to end the debate season.
"This year's team had one of the strongest finishes in school history," Phil Sharp, debate team coach and forensics director of the College of Liberal Arts at the University, said. "Much of the success came at the end of the year, and it was exciting to watch a team reach its peak in their last month."
The Nevada Debate Union and the University Debate Team join forces with the Earth Day committee to offer a free, public debate held at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 21, in the Joe Crowley Student Union Theatre.
In the spirit of Earth Day, the team will discuss the funding of a public bike program that will allow students to "check out" a bike for commuting around town or on campus. Each year, the team selects a topic related to an environmental justice issue and they stage a performance for students, staff, alumni and community members. The debate team has put on a public debate during the week of Earth Day for nearly six consecutive years, offering the community a chance to watch a top-ranked competitive debate team in action.
"We are excited to be a part of a campus-wide celebration of an important day," Sharp said. "Our goal is to help spread awareness and spark a dialogue about important environmentally based controversies."
The team will also perform an abbreviated version of their debate on the stage in front of the Joe Crowley Student Union at 10 a.m., Friday, April 22. They will kick off the official Earth Day events, happening from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and include a sapling giveaway, a dumpster dive, yoga on the grass, a visit from the Bag Monster, guest speakers, performers, and various clubs and community organizations giving out information and Earth Day gifts.
To close out the year, the University's Department of Communications Studies will hold the Nevada Debate and Oral Communication Awards. During the ceremony, the William J. Cashill Scholarship and the Robert S. Griffin & W. Clark Santini Awards and Scholarships will be granted to outstanding students of the debate team. Throughout the year, students accumulate trophies and plaques to represent their efforts and achievements. This ceremony offers them the opportunity to share their accomplishments with faculty, administration, alumni and supporters. The reception starts at 4:30 p.m. and the ceremony at 5 p.m., Monday, May 2, in the Joe Crowley Student Union Great Room on the fourth floor.
"It is bittersweet to see some of our students graduating, but we are excited to have the core of our team back for another season," Sharp said. "With five of the six debaters who made it to elimination rounds at nationals returning, we expect to have a great season next year."
W. Clark Santini Award
Named after W. Clark Santini, a former student of the University and debate team member, the W. Clark Santini Cup is granted each year to a person who, through oral communication, has brought significant benefits to the community as a whole. Santini was a visible community activist involved in the creation of Rancho San Rafael Park and protection of the Truckee River.
This year's Santini Cup winner is Carina Black. She has been the executive director for the Northern Nevada International Center for 17 years and has brought more than 10,000 international visitors to Reno. The contributions she's made to the center and northern Nevada through oral communication will be recognized.
Robert S. Griffin Medal
The Robert S. Griffin Medal is awarded to the top member of the Nevada Debate Team each year. Given in honor of Robert Griffin, the first director of forensics at the University, the award recognizes a student who has achieved greatness both in and out of debate rounds, acts as a leader on the team and conducts themselves in a manner that honorably represents the University and the debate team. The award winner exemplifies the commitment, charity and professionalism that Griffin taught to generations of students and members of the debate team at the University.
William J. Cashill Scholarship
Also recognized at the event will be the recipients of the William J. Cashill Scholarship. Cashill was a member of the debate team from 1934-1937 and won the Griffin Medal in 1937. He used his oral communication skills in his law practice and as a distinguished member of the community.
Read more about the debate team and team's top-10 finish at the national tournament. If interested in attending the Santini Awards, email Sharp at email@example.com, or visit the Debate Union Facebook page for more details.