Members of the Black Hills State University Debate Team traveled to England recently to compete in two prestigious tournaments held at the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.
This was the first international competition in the team’s history.
To compete internationally, the BHSU team learned a new form of debate called British Parliament to prepare for the international tournament.
Instead of individual or two-person team debates, British Parliament includes a team of eight with two groups of two in support of and in opposition of a resolution.
“We spent the fall semester going to British Parliament tournaments in the region. We did well in our circuit of competition,” said Megan Wattenhofer, biology major from Rapid City.
At the tournaments in England, the BHSU team competed against teams from across the globe including Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland and India.
The team spent weeks preparing for the experience by having a workshop with a college in Montana, subscribing to international newspapers, practicing three times a week, and reviewing news stories weekly with the team.
“This was a great opportunity to step out of our comfort zone. The life experience we gained is extremely valuable, to have more understanding of how the international community sees the U.S. and interacts with our country,” said Wattenhofer. “We gained valuable insight into how the world works.”
Some of the resolutions the BHSU team debated in England included mandatory military service in Israel, usefulness of the international criminal court, and how government decisions affect future generations.
Wattenhofer said she was especially impacted by how examples of U.S. policy and positioning were brought up in every debate she participated in and watched.
Members of the BHSU Debate Team who competed internationally: Rachel Kane, exercise science major from Broadus, Mont., Taylor Mowery, political science and social science composite major from Gillette, Wyo., Cheyenne Rost, education major from Thorton, Colo., and Megan Wattenhofer, biology major from Rapid City.
Eric Leise, director of international relations, accompanied the students to England.
Ryan Clark, associate professor of communication studies at BHSU, coaches the BHSU Debate Team.