Reflections from Association of Black Argument Professionals Conference

While everyone was competing in at the WUDL Holiday Tournament, I was in Miami attending the P.A.L.M. T.R.E.E. Symposium hosted by the Association of Black Argument Professionals.

This year’s theme was “Providing Advance Learning Models through Rigorous Education and Experience” and the symposium did just that!

There were speakers from all different types of debate backgrounds, like Urban Debate League Representatives, Directors of Debate from successful college debate programs, and even the creator of Tabroom, a popular debate website used for tabbing.Getting the opportunity to hear about the work the members of our community are doing has expanded the possibilities for what our league can achieve in the future.

Chris Palmer, the creator of Tabroom, gave a lecture on how we can make our tabrooms at tournaments more inclusive and how to get the most out of using Tabroom. Something we do well here at WUDL is finding volunteer judges who are very passionate about giving our students constructive feedback and as we grow it is so important to maintain the quality and diversity of our judge pool. Debate can be hard and part of the reason our students continue to compete is because they get to interact with adults who might share something in common with them or are where they want to be some day. I also learned how to use Tabroom to give our students a bit of a competitive edge when we attend National Circuit Tournaments. Nothing replaces good debating but a little push in the right direction never hurts.

Alicia Adamson, from the Boston Debate League, gave a great lecture on fundraising for debate. The BDL does an adult only debate tournament, where alumni, lawyers, former debaters, and anyone who ever wanted to give debate a shot signed up to compete. The event was well attended and everyone had a blast. It would be interesting to recreate an event like that for the WUDL, considering all the people who tell me how much they wished they had one more chance to relive their debate days.

I am so grateful that I was able to attend the symposium. The knowledge and connections I brought back home with me has really helped informed a lot program decisions not just for next season but for the tournaments and opportunities we have left for this season. I look forward to hearing about the presenters for next year’s symposium!

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