On the weekend of March 27, the Union University debate team brought home the national title from the International Public Debate Association national championship at Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. The team won first place in the novice and professional divisions, the team sweepstakes and the overall season long Founders Award, the season-long championship.
“It was a really great feeling at the tournament,” said Allison Pulliam, junior double major in broadcast journalism and political science. “It was a really good feeling to be able to walk up on stage and everyone on our team win an award.”
Pulliam won first in the nation for the professional division in season long awards.
“It was extremely enjoyable,” said Thomas Gray, sophomore broadcast journalism major. “We did something that was unprecedented and unheard of.”
The schools that the team went to compete with ranged from small schools to large universities.
“It was also really interesting to have nationals in Boise because a lot of our tournaments were regional tournaments and we were competing against people from the south,” Pulliam said.
Gray also said competing nationally was different than competing regionally because there are schools from all over the country, so competitors have different backgrounds and styles of speaking, and that provided the team with a different dynamic.
“I appreciated seeing all the different styles at nationals because when you compete regionally, it can isolate you and your team just a little bit, from the rest of the country,” Gray said. “Nationals was a really great opportunity to break out from your region and see what people from other parts of the country value in the way they debate.”
Pulliam said that the team was competitive and driven to succeed, and this helped them be victorious at nationals.
Web Drake, chairman of the communication arts department and the debate director, went along with the team on this journey and watched them succeed.
“This year’s team was a privilege to coach,” Drake said. “They understood what was necessary and set out to accomplish their objectives with determination and focus.”