Listed below are the most Frequently Asked Questions about team membership

Why should I join the team?

The Macken Debate & Speech team provides an outstanding opportunity to competively experienced students to meet and work with great people--both at SMC and other universities--while competing in events that help you continue developing research, critical analysis, and public communication skills. The friendships you make on the team are sometimes the best you'll make while going to college, and the ideas you play with and skills you hone will take you far after graduation. Competing for the team can be one of the most enjoyable and satisfying parts of your undergraduate experience.

And, any major can benefit from competing with the team: from Anthropology to History to Integral to Politics, different majors bring different and welcome knowledge to the team from which we all benefit.


What kind of time commitment are we talking?

There are meetings and practices twice a week, which all team members are required to attend, and research assignments are part of tournament preparation. We compete in 10-12 tournaments per season, and help out at high school and middle school tournaments when we can. We also host events on campus, which team members help faciliate.

You earn .25 upper-division credit as a member of the team who is enrolled in COMM 191-Forensics Lab. (That .25 credit is without charge--it is in addition to the .25 credit course already included in your tuition.) Enrollment in both sections of COMM 191-Forensics Lab is required for all team members each semester.


How much do I pay?

Nothing. Zilch. Zero. To make team membership as accessible as possible to experienced competitors, our benefactor, John Macken, has made economic barriers next to none. When traveling, the program pays for travel, lodging, and most food. The program also picks up the tab for attending summer debate camps for those team members qualified (when resources permit), and sponsors various social events throughout the year.


Are scholarships available?

Yes. View the scholarship information here.


What events does the program support?

You can click on any of the following links to find a description of the event:


How much time does a tournament take?

Tournaments are held on weekends, usually starting on Friday and ending on Sunday. Be prepared to leave on Thursday night or Friday afternoon of the scheduled weekend and to return on Sunday evening or Monday. Like athletes, team members are excused from Friday afternoon classes by SMC policy.


How much time does practice take?

Practices are held on weekdays, usually on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Each debate partnership has a two hour meeting with the coach.  We have added team lock-ins on the weekend before we travel to a tournament.  Additionally, study hall is on Sundays afternoon.