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The Lancaster Debating Union (LDU) is one of the most popular societies on campus. The LUSU society is known for running regular debates on a wide range of issues and its efforts to bring high-profile guest speakers onto our campus. In order to get a taste of what university life is like in the shoes of a member of this society, SCAN spoke to second-year History student, Alison Hulme, who is the Publicity and Communications Officer of LDU.
How would you describe LDU to a newcomer?
Debating is an amazing opportunity to work on your public speaking which greatly increases your confidence and is conveniently a fun way to meet new people and travel the country.
What has LDU got planned for this year?
Alongside our usual training and competitions, we are currently planning a big public debate with guest speakers for the end of Michaelmas term which everyone should look out for. We are now running a new Intercollegiate Debating Competition for freshers to win college pride and Amazon vouchers. Also, for novices we have collaborated with Liverpool and Manchester to organise the Red Rose Cup competition which will have a fantastic workshop aimed at novice debaters. We have a lot more in the works which can all be found on our Facebook page.
What would an average weekly timetable for a member of the society consist of?
A dedicated LDU member has a very busy week. Every fortnight, on Monday, we hold public debates in which members have the opportunity to practice their speaking in front of an audience on a motion decided on the Facebook page – our next Monday debate will be ‘This House Regrets the ‘Born This Way’ Narrative’ on 7th November. On Tuesday, we have sessions for the Intercollegiate Debating Competition which we have been coordinating. Wednesday is our weekly training session, starting at 2pm, where everyone has a chance to practice debating. We also send teams to competitions on weekends, which means members can do a full day of debating against other university-level teams.
Which topics does LDU cover?
We cover every topic you can think of. From politics to economics and we even throw in some different topics every so often, such as our Harry Potter public debate. Anything you’re interested in, we can debate it – so feel free to suggest topics you want to discuss.
What has been your favourite moment as a part of the society so far?
My favourite moment was probably the Brexit guest speaker debate which Natalie Bennett and Kate Green spoke at. It was stressful to put together but it was worth it when it all went well.
What qualities and skills do you feel that you get out of the LDU?
There are so many skills that debating can allow you to develop. The main one for me was confidence from practicing giving speeches so much, meaning I can now happily deliver 7 minute speeches after 15 minutes of confused prep time. This practice also allows you to develop analytical skills in explaining why certain points are significant and relevant to the debate which definitely helps in essays, alongside responsiveness and quick thinking. By being allocated positions in debate you are made to argue from a side you might not have considered before, widening your perspectives and making you look at the world from a different side.
How would a student who is interested in LDU become involved?
Check out our facebook page and join our group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/151958814866472/ where we post the most up to date information about times and locations. We have training every Wednesday at 2pm, the location will be posted on the group page closer to the event, so just turn up even if you have no prior debating experience.
Further information on LDU is available on the LUSU website: http://lusu.co.uk/groups/debating-f0fd