FIRE launches guide to hosting debates, offers funding opportunities

April 28, 2017

FIRE is excited to launch a brand-new resource, our Guide For Creating Your Own Debate Program.

During the 2015-16 school year, we hosted FIRE Debates, a series of four debates that took place on different college campuses, exploring topics like whether college athletes should be allowed to be paid and amending the Second Amendment. Our aim was to demonstrate that debating the merits of competing ideas can be productive — and fun.

As the coordinator of last year’s debate program, I know firsthand the unique challenges that come with planning a debate. This is precisely the reason we at FIRE wanted to write this guide: so that those who see the need to bring different viewpoints to campus may do so with some idea of what to expect and tips on how to approach planning this type of event. This guide was written with versatility in mind because each university is different, with its own resources, priorities, and interests.

Here are just a few of the things you can learn from reading the guide:

  • Advice on how to strategically choose the motion for the debate
  • Ideas for how to obtain speakers to participate in the debate
  • Tips on how to deal with logistics and marketing
  • Templates for emails and invitations to be sent to speakers

It’s time for FIRE to pass the torch to those who want to host debates, coffeehouse conversations, a discussion series, or other programs where multiple and diverse viewpoints can be explored on campus.

To give students the resources to do so, we are also making available a limited amount of funding from FIRE for well-thought-out program proposals. Students can read more about the program rules and submit a proposal via our application form.

If you’re interested in hosting a debate on campus, and you have questions, contact FIRE! Our staff is here to help you throughout the planning process.