After being approved as a student organization in the fall of 2017, the Illinois Tech Speech and Debate Team (created by Brigette Mora) has set out to give Illinois Tech students a platform for mastering their public speaking and presentations skills as well as allowing them to compete in regional and national collegiate tournaments. In Mora’s words, “the overall inspiration in becoming a student organization was to help facilitate a community around public speaking on campus.” Given how ubiquitous this skill is, the appeal of Illinois Tech Speech and Debate transcends the boundaries of different majors as almost all Illinois Tech students can benefit from a refinement of their speaking and presentation skills, whether they be an engineer, a scientist, an architect, or psychologist.
After the organization’s creation in the prior fall semester, its team of 10 members has since gone on to compete in tournaments at the University of Indianapolis, Northern Illinois University, North Central College, College of DuPage, Harper College, and Illinois Central College. Mora said to TechNews that “we are planning to start going to more out-of-state tournaments in fall 2018 in order to get our name and reputation out on the national level.”
At the typical Speech and Debate Team meeting, the organization runs practice rounds, augmentation drills, and workshops on both research and public speaking. While this may all sound intimidating, Mora still heavily implores students looking to improve their speaking and research skills to join, even if they have no official experience in speech or debate. “Many students get intimidated with the fact we compete against different schools and/or they do not have enough prior experience,” Mora told TechNews. “I would urge them to fight against the misconception that you need prior experience. Many of our awards come from those who had little to no experience in speech or debate. We are a family and we help everyone improve their public speaking skills. We have now expanded into incorporating speech into our event categories. This allows us to be more inclusive to those who would like to improve their public speaking skills through means of acting, comedy, and non-confrontational speaking. If you enjoy making people laugh, cry and/or amazed, the speech portion of our team is for you.”
The Illinois Tech Speech and Debate Team meets every Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center, room 124. Questions can directed to Mora at [email protected].