Ferris’ debate team will travel to Berlin, Germany, in March for the 29th Annual Speech and Debate Tournament held by the International Forensics Association.
“This will be the first international competition that we have been a part of,” Ferris Humanities professor and debate team staff adviser Kristi Scholten said. “As part of my recent tenure in this position, we have traveled as far away as New Hampshire and Boise, Idaho.”
The tournament is being held from March 10-12, with the team departing at the start of Ferris’ spring recess. The tournament will be held in the Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz, where the team will also be staying.
“We will be in a hotel full of competitors from all over the world, being seen and rated by judges from all over the world,” Scholten said. “The tournament and conference staff will have a few sponsored events where all of these people from all of these places get to mingle.”
Of the team’s 12 members, four were chosen to visit Germany this year based on their grade point average and attendance to their debate practice. President Cece Klee, Vice President Allyson Faulkner and Ferris communications student Jenna Steele will be among the four attending the tournament.
With an annual budget of $17,000, Scholten plans to spend up to $10,000 bringing the debate team to Germany. Team members will have to provide their own funds for passports, luggage fees and costs for entertainment while visiting.
“$17,000 sounds like a lot — particularly in light of the budget concerns happening at Ferris. However, it is all relative,” Scholten said. “Compared to other nationally and internationally traveling teams and programs on campus, it isn’t that big of a budget.”
Scholten and the team hope to visit Berlin’s government sector and would like to see Germany’s parliament in session while attending the tournament. The team is also planning to visit the site of the Berlin Wall.
“We’ll denitely need the first day we’re there to recuperate, since we’ll be all jetlagged and weird,” Scholten said.
Each year, Ferris’ debate team travels to the Pi Kappa Delta national debate championship, with previous members achieving high rankings. In 2018, Ferris political science graduate Mason Smith reached the quarternals of the tournament.
The debate team will be back in the U.S. March 15 after spending one week in Berlin.